NPD: Non-Traditional Games Spending Tops Retail in Third Quarter of 2011

Paul Lilly

U.S. consumers spent in the neighborhood of $4.2 billion on gaming hardware, software, content, and accessories in the third quarter of 2011, an enormous amount of cash on its own, but down 11 percent compared to the same quarter one year ago, according to data released in NPD Group's U.S. Games Market Dynamics report. There are some interesting trends taking place when breaking down game related spending.

The NPD Group pegs Q3 spending on new physical console and PC game spending at $1.3 billion, while other game related income added up to $1.64 billion. NPD Group clumps a bunch of different sources into its alternative spending category, including sales of used games, game rentals, online subscriptions, downloads of full digital games, social network games, downloadable add-on content, and mobile games.

"New physical retail sales had a rough third quarter. Increases in sales from some of these other monetization methods, and full game and add-on digital downloads in particular, only partially offset the decline seen in the new physical retail channel," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “"We are already seeing some dynamic changes in the marketplace in Q4 and we are seeing interesting geographic differences from the expansion of our coverage in the UK, France and Germany. Q4 2012 results from both the U.S. and Europe will be issued in March, 2012."

Sales figures included in NPD Group's report are for the July-September period, before the release of several blockbuster titles, including Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

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