The gaming industry is bigger than ever, with the NPD Group ringing up the non-PC market's 2007 total at nearly $17.94 billion in US retail revenues, up 43 percent from 2006. But not every part of the industry is doing so well--at retail, anyway.
Despite ringing in the year with the fastest-selling PC game of all time, retail PC sales were down in 2007. The NPD Group today confirmed its PC retail tally for the year, pegging the market for boxed computer games at $910.7 million. That's down 6 percent from 2006's $970 million take, and off even more from PC gaming's 2004 peak of $1.1 billion. One reason for the slide in retail revenues is that much of the business is going online, where the NPD Group doesn't track it.
"The PC games sales landscape is changing to one that is increasingly reliant on digital sources of revenue," NPD analyst Anita Frazier told GameSpot. "Our sales reflect the retail climate but there is a lot of gaming sales activity that is generated from digital downloads and subscriptions. I think the PC market continues to be quite healthy and we're continuing to work on how to get our arms around the spending that occurs outside of retail. A number of our [surveys] ask respondents to indicate which platforms they game on, and the results of those questions make it very clear that the PC remains very prevalent, if not dominant, in the total gaming picture."
The Entertainment Software Association trumpeted the NPD's data today, announcing the combined PC, console, and handheld gaming industry's $18.85 billion in 2007 US retail sales as a new record. The industry trade group noted that roughly 267.8 million games were sold during 2007.
The ESA also specifically pointed to a handful of trends, saying that sales in the "family entertainment" genre of games more than doubled, up 110 percent from 2006. Continuing to paint a family-friendly image of the industry, the ESA noted that less than 16 percent of games sold last year were rated M for Mature, with games rated T for Teen representing 28 percent of games sold, and more than 56 percent of games carrying a less restrictive rating than that.