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Print 41 comment(s) - last by derricker.. on Jul 26 at 2:31 PM

Services like Steam and Direct2Drive continue to mount in popularity

It's no secret that digital downloads of video games -- be it on the console or PC -- are growing in popularity.  However, the latest numbers may come as a surprise to some.

According to a newly published study by market researchers at the NPD Group, entitled "PC Games Digital Downloads", almost half of the purchases of PC games in 2009 were done online.  The survey estimates that 21.3 million PC games were purchased online, while 23.5 million games were sold in U.S. retail stores last year.

That places the percentage of downloads at about 47.5 percent.  Overall Steam was the most popular download service, followed by Direct2Drive, Blizzard's direct download system, EA's direct download system, and the World of Warcraft MMO.

Online social network gaming is also on the rise with 4.3 million users jumping on board between Q3 2009 to Q4 2009.  Those gains have hurt the casual gaming download market, which was topped last year by Big Fish Games.  Casual gaming titles, which typically feature addictive gameplay and shareware schemes of some sort, are slowly losing ground as customers discover free or cheap options on smart phones or social networks.

Overall, the report delivered good news for those in the gaming industry who make PC games.  A previous NPD report had shown retail gaming sales to be down as much as 15 percent in June.  That report only looked at offline purchases, though.  The industry may have actually grown when online purchases were factored in.



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RE: makes sense to me
By xpax on 7/23/2010 11:10:46 AM , Rating: 5
Steam. Never had problems reinstalling games from Steam on a new computer/OS.


RE: makes sense to me
By muhahaaha on 7/23/2010 11:46:42 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed. I have built several computers since I purchased the original Half Life 2 game, and when I re-install Steam, I can just re-download it.

Also, Steam has some great special deals. I bought Borderlands at half price a few months ago ($20 bucks or so), and Batman Arkham Asylum at half price recently as well as L4D2.

No longer will I get ripped off buying from a retail store.

And the license stays with your steam account wherever you go/ whatever machine you use.


RE: makes sense to me
By muhahaaha on 7/23/2010 11:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'll admit, I used to download games from illegitimate sources for "free".

But now with Steam, I am happy to pay for them because they are almost always cheaper than retail, often have a "free trial" weekend, and most of the money is going to the developers (no EA/Ubisoft middlemen.)


RE: makes sense to me
By Mitch101 on 7/23/2010 12:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Worth Mentioning is the steam community. I play first person shooters like Left 4 Dead and Steam makes it great in getting a GOOD group of players together or calling in a friend when your having trouble. The only thing better is a lan party.


RE: makes sense to me
By Pirks on 7/23/2010 3:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
no EA/Ubisoft middlemen
as if valvemen are somehow better


RE: makes sense to me
By someguy123 on 7/23/2010 5:20:01 PM , Rating: 4
Considering they appear to be giving a much larger cut of the profits to the respective developers, have lower than retail pricing on majority of products, and have deals where you can get games for literally a dollar per game in a pack, I'd say they're leagues better than EA/ubisoft middle men who limit me to an arbitrary amount of reinstalls because some pirate cracks their DRM with ease.


RE: makes sense to me
By TheMan876 on 7/25/2010 4:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
If Steam has sales of "All Ubisoft games" or "All EA Games" then how is there no EA/Ubi middleman?


RE: makes sense to me
By GodisanAtheist on 7/23/2010 11:58:07 AM , Rating: 2
You don't even have to waste time redownloading it if you have an alternate drive to lead steam to. Just copy paste your entire steam drive to another HDD, format your primary, then copy paste back.

Launch steam and you'll have all your games and saves waiting for you when you open it!


RE: makes sense to me
By GodisanAtheist on 7/23/2010 12:00:29 PM , Rating: 3
Ugh sorry lemme try that again:

You don't even have to waste time downloading your games again if you have an alternate drive to load steam to. Just copy paste your entire steam folder to another HDD, format your primary, then copy paste the folder back.

Launch the steam app manually, it'll re-register itself and you'll have all your games and saves waiting for you after its done.


RE: makes sense to me
By Mitch101 on 7/23/2010 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Thankyou for that tip I made the ISO's on another drive but havent burned them. Figured I would if I needed to re-install but this sounds much easier to do and I can set up SyncToy to do the copy for me.


RE: makes sense to me
By JKflipflop98 on 7/26/2010 2:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
Alot of games actually save your play data in the MyDocuments folder nowadays. Be sure to back all that up, too.


RE: makes sense to me
By Akrovah on 7/23/2010 12:41:43 PM , Rating: 3
Another option that has worked well for me was to simply install steam to the alternate drive. Then when I reinstall my OS I just re-isntall steam right over the top of the old directory, no copy/paste needed.


RE: makes sense to me
By inperfectdarkness on 7/23/2010 9:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
one critical problem:

you can no longer sell games you wish to no longer use.


RE: makes sense to me
By muhahaaha on 7/24/2010 7:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well, getting the games at roughly 1/2 the retail price appeals to me, and I am not so apt to want to sell them, knowing that I can always have access to them, and if I decided to switch to a MAC (purely hypothetical) I could still play most of my games with Steam.

Besides, unless you sell them yourself on Craigslist or E-Bay, you aren't going to get much ... what, $5 bucks? Might as well keep your games.


RE: makes sense to me
By muhahaaha on 7/24/2010 7:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Well, getting the games at roughly 1/2 the retail price appeals to me, and I am not so apt to want to sell them, knowing that I can always have access to them, and if I decided to switch to a MAC (purely hypothetical) I could still play most of my games with Steam.

Besides, unless you sell them yourself on Craigslist or E-Bay, you aren't going to get much ... what, $5 bucks? Might as well keep your games.


RE: makes sense to me
By rburnham on 7/23/2010 11:50:24 AM , Rating: 3
And now with SteamCloud, I barely see a reason to buy non-Steam games. Having all my saves backed up online is a HUGE bonus. Love you Valve, even though you are taking forever with HL2:Ep3!


RE: makes sense to me
By lothar98 on 7/23/2010 11:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I agree completely games and their usage is one of the few things where it is nice to have a software profile linked to your used id. One of the perks that you can get for playing a feature game on a pc over a console is that you don't always have to fumble around to find that game disk that you haven't used in a while if you feel like playing a different game.


RE: makes sense to me
By smegz on 7/23/2010 12:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, Steam is your friend. Moving to a new computer is a snap if you keep an update of your Steam directory. Simply install Steam then copy your backup over the install. All your games should be there waiting for you to play and you don't have to wait to re-download them again. That's what I did when I upgraded my system to Windows 7 last year.


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