40% Video Game Sales From 'Non Traditional' Products

Gaming sales were down 8% overall in September from a year ago, according to NPD Group, but adding non-store sales of products such as rentals, used games, subscriptions and downloads boosted the sales report.
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Excluding physical store sales of video game equipment and software, the gaming industry in the first half of 2010 sold up to $2.9 billion in non-traditional products, which include game rentals, used games, subscriptions, full-game downloads, mobile game apps and social network games, a research firm says.

In its first report of non-store sales for the video game industry, the NPD Group said Friday that when non-traditional sales are added to the total consumer spend, the final number is nearly 40% more than sales at physical retail stores alone.

Until now, the NPD Group had only considered physical retail sales; a methodology criticized by industry players who argued the approach didn't paint an accurate picture of total sales. The latest NPD figures show critics were right, even though store sales still make up the majority of industry sales.

Overall consumer spend on video game hardware, content, and accessories in the first half of the year ranged from $9.5 billion to $9.7 billion, of which $2.6 billion to $2.9 billion was in non-traditional sales, NPD said. The research firm acknowledged that its new way of tracking consumer spending provided an "expanded, more comprehensive measure of a dynamic and rapidly changing games industry."

On Thursday, NPD released sales of video game software and equipment in physical stores for the month of September. Overall sales were down 8% from the same month a year ago to $1.18 billion.

Sales of hardware, which includes the Sony PlayStation 3, the Microsoft Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii and portable consoles made by Sony and Nintendo, fell 19% year over year to $383 million, while software sales dropped 6% to $614 million. Sales of game accessories rose 13% from a year ago to $180 million, driven in part by the release of the Move, Sony's motion-sensing controller for the PS3.


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