American consumers are still spending money on games, but less than before.
Gaming is serious business. So serious, in fact, that it has grown into an industry that shifts billions of dollars every year. How many billions, you ask? According to the NPD Group, the US just spent $14.8 billion on physical and digital media for 2012.
The figures were presented in the group's report titled "2012 Games Market Dynamics: US", which based its findings on a combination of data tracked at point-of-sale, consumer research, and spending estimates derived from the NPD Group's "retail and publisher partners". The study reveals that gamers had spent $7.09 billion on new physical releases in the previous year, and an extra $1.79 billion in used titles and rentals. Digital content, consisting of full games, DLC, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games, raked in an additional $5.92 billion from US consumers.
The overall total sounds impressive enough, but the figures are down from the numbers in 2011. While digital sales increased by 16% in comparison, physical media sales fell by 21%, or $2.37 billion. This resulted in an overall fall of 9%, or about $1.54 billion difference.
"There were divergent trends when looking at content spending in 2012 as a whole," said Liam Callahan, an analyst for the NPD Group. "When including all other forms of content spending outside of new physical games, the 2012 U.S. games market was more than twice as large as the total spending on new physical games alone."