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PC Game Sales: 47% Of PC Purchases Are Digital

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Or so say the RPS readers anyway. I wanted to do a follow up on the polls Jim ran a few weeks ago, highlighting the results and what they say about the state of the PC nation (in short: People buy stuff on direct download! Man!). Some of them didn’t require much other interpretation. Others – like the one in the header – required a little maths to arrive at. And more beneath the cut…

Before we’re going further, worth stressing the weaknesses of our numbers. Firstly, they’re from a poll of RPS readers. Are RPS readers characteristic of PC gamers generally? Maybe, but I’d argue they’re not exactly far from self-identified core PC gamers. Secondly, there’s traditionally a bias in polls like this, as people who aren’t involved in the practice don’t necessarily click. Thirdly, the 47% figure is extrapolated from other questions, as shown here, and the question was based on percentage of expenditure including things like subscriptions.

But on the other hand, almost two thousand PC gamers contributed to the poll. This isn’t a bad sample size at all. And the picture which it presents seems to confirm many’s gut feeling about the direction of PC gaming. Let’s take that 47% seriously for a second. If it’s a general rule, it basically means that you have to double the NPD figures to get a truer picture of where PC gaming is.

93% of RPS readers bought a PC game digitally in the last year, dwarfing the 7% who only purchase via traditional retail. 71% of them bought more than four digitally. In terms of the percentages of purchases via a digital channel, there’s 25% who say that fewer than 20% of their purchases are digital – but there’s also 17% who purchase more than 80% of theirs online. In fact, the spread across the four 20% groupings (25%, 19%, 21%, 18%, 19%) lacks an obvious peak.

We’re left with an undeniable portrait of PC gamers increasingly at home with the digital present.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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