If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Whee! Downloads Now 48% of PC Game Sales

US receipt-collectors NPD are finally encompassing digital distribution in their regular surveys. Which is just as well, as half the time it's been their bloody surveys which have caused nitwits to cry "the PC is doomed" (most recently, they claimed a 23% drop in PC game sales from 2008 to 2009). They're now estimating that download sales constitute 48% of the PC market, which means previous recent surveys have ignored about 21.3 million units. Whole lotta cash. That's even before you factor in the giant cash-pile generated from free-to-play games' microtransactions and whatnot.

Oh, and the NPD have also put out a list of the five biggest digital distributors in the world today. Can you guess which is number one? I'll give you a clue. It's not Steam.

Oh, if course it's bloomin' Steam. Don't be ridiculous. Positions three to five are veeeeeeeeery interesting, however: these are sites selling just a few different games (and one, in WoW's case), but they're beating yer GamersGates, GoGs, Impulses (though there's been some controversy there) et al. Not sure that's totally healthy. But it is veeeeeeery interesting.

1 - Steampowered.com
2 - Direct2drive.com
3- Blizzard.com
4- EA.com
5- Worldofwarcraft.com

That's in terms of unit percentage share, though I'm not entirely sure where those figures came from, given Steam at least doesn't release much sales data.

It's also worth noting those are purely "frontline" sales, which I thought for a moment meant only sales of underwhelming Battlefield clone Frontlines: Fuel of War. In fact, it means digital distributors which specialise in games also commonly available at retail. I.e. not casual portals, who have their own chart:

1. Bigfishgames.com
2. Pogo.com
3. Gamehouse.com
4. iWin.com
5. Realarcade.com

So yeah, basically. The PC's making much more money than idiots say it is. This does, however, beg the question of whether or not too much of that money is going to just one company.

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer

Contributor

Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Support Rock Paper Shotgun

Subscribe and get access to supporter-only articles, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and game discounts. Your support helps us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

More News

Latest Articles

Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch