Physical Format Now Counts for Only One in Four Sales in US

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA for short) has today published their annual Essential Facts report on the video game industry along with the culture/community that supports it and a few interesting facts/statistics have cropped up on close read. According to a finding from The NPD Group — based on a survey of 4,000 house-holds in the US — physical sales of video game products now only count for nearly one of every four products in total bought during the entirety of 2016. Last year saw physical sales fall to their lowest level, constituting only 26% of the total amount with the rise of digital retail growing ever larger with a major stake at 74%.

Physical Digital 2016 Infographic

As you can see from the above infographic (courtesy of ESA’s 2017 report), this is more than double the percentage it held a mere five years previous in 2011. It’s important to note though that this survey includes all manner of video game products and isn’t limited solely to video games themselves. The survey included accompanying services and add-on content such as online subscriptions, DLC, Season Passes not to mention all manner of mobile games which will inevitably raise the percentage of total digital content up than a simple comparison between physically-bought and digitally-bought games alone.

Nevertheless, today’s report clearly signals that while there’s still a demand for physical copies of video game products — whether they be the games themselves or not — it would seem they are now in a minority over what has, over the past few years, become from the looks of things a digitally-dominated market.