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 walk2k on 7/23/2010 12:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately the "limited-installs" crap appears on physical disk-based games now too.

Steam is not immune either. Some games you download there (Fallout 3) require you to ALSO authenticate with another service (LIVE for Windows) and won't let you play if you don't, not even offline/single player.

RE: makes sense to me
By NullSubroutine on 7/25/2010 8:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have FO3 and you don't have to sign into Live online, you can make a fake profile and simply play it in offline mode, you can also do this with DLC content, but I think to play that in offline mode requires hacked content.

RE: makes sense to me
By JKflipflop98 on 7/26/2010 2:53:32 AM , Rating: 1
So why dont you take the 10 seconds to make a Live account, and then check the little "save my username/password" button?

Mountain out of a mole hill.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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