PC and console games: Purchasing digital games via download becomes popular alternative

PC and console games: Purchasing digital games via download becomes popular alternative
  • Acceptance grows for download titles with higher prices
  • Retailers profit from successful hardware, collector’s editions and hybrid toys
  • Overall German market for digital games grows by 4.5 per cent to 2.81 billion euros, in 2015

Berlin, 10 May 2015 – Purchasing computer and console games via download has become a popular alternative to buying physical media in Germany. The percentage of total game purchases made up by downloads has risen further, but taking into account the strong growth during the previous years, it is actually only a slight increase. Approximately one out of three titles for PCs and consoles (33 per cent) was purchased via download in 2015. One year prior, that figure was 32 per cent. Sales revenue also rose marginally during that period. 21 per cent of the money spent on PC and console games went to downloads in 2015 – an increase of 2 percentage points compared to 2014 (19 per cent). This development is accompanied by a slight decline in the share of sales revenue held by games on physical media, from 81 to 79 per cent. The share of sales also dropped compared to the previous year, from 68 to 67 per cent, as reported by the BIU, the German Games Industry Association, based on market data compiled by GfK. The market research institute conducted representative surveys of 25,000 German consumers for this purpose.

[quotation cite=”Dr. Maximilian Schenk, Managing Director of the BIU”] “Download portals are popular among users because they are easy to access, provide a broad range of games and offer attractive discounts.[/quotation]There are a number of reasons why some consumers continue to prefer purchasing computer and video games on DVD and Blu-ray. Game fans often purchase physical copies of games in order to own popular collector’s editions, for instance. Additionally, retailers profit from products known as ‘hybrid toys’, or ‘toys-to-life.’ These toys take the idea of purchasing extra content – a concept from the downloadable content segment – and bring it to the shelves of bricks-and-mortar stores, helping to diversify retailers’ product ranges. Retailers have also benefited from the high demand for the latest generation of gaming consoles. The positive impact of these segments on retailers’ sales figures actually compensates for the decline in game sales many times over. ‘At an early stage, the games industry recognised the potential of using various distribution channels to meet customers’ individual needs,’ comments Managing Director of the BIU Dr Maximilian Schenk regarding the development of the market for PC and console games. ‘For instance, download portals are popular among users because they are easy to access, provide a broad range of games and offer attractive discounts. Retailers, on the other hand, score points with strengths such as personalised customer service, a selection of special collector’s editions and innovative hybrid toys.’

Gamers spend more money per download title on average

Price remains an important criterion when it comes to the question of whether a customer will purchase a game on physical media or via download. 71 per cent of all downloads purchased were titles that cost less than 20 euros; in 2014, that figure was 76 per cent. While far more than half of all PC games are purchased via download (62 per cent), the share of download purchases for consoles has also grown from 9 to 13 per cent. ‘The popularity of buying games via download is reflected not only in the growing share of download purchases overall, but also in the fact that players are prepared to spend much more on average for individual download titles,’ says Dr Maximilian Schenk, explaining the development of the market.

German market for computer and video games grows to 2.81 billion euros

In total, the market for computer and video games grew by 4.5 per cent to 2.81 billion euros in 2015. Leaving gaming consoles aside, sales revenue generated by games amounted to 1.99 billion euros – an increase of 3.5 per cent compared 2014. The majority of sales revenue was generated by sales of games for PCs, consoles and mobile devices – a total of 1.21 billion euros. Sales of virtual goods and extra content rose particularly sharply last year; compared to 2014, this sub-segment grew by 18 per cent to 562 million euros. Sales revenue from game subscriptions also rose by 5 per cent to 145 million euros. Meanwhile, the nascent market for hybrid toys skyrocketed by 53 per cent to 72 million euros.

Note on market data:

The data used is based on statistics compiled by the GfK Consumer Panel and GfK Entertainment. The methods used by GfK to collect data on Germany’s digital games market are unique in terms both of their quality and their global use. They include an ongoing survey of 25,000 consumers who are representative of the German population as a whole regarding their digital game purchasing and usage habits, and also a consumer panel. The data collection methods provide a unique insight into the German market for computer and video games. Discrepancies between this year’s sales revenue figures for the purchase of computer and video games in 2014 and the figures provided last year for 2014 are the result of a methodological adjustment.

About the BIU

BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (German Games Industry Association) is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its 26 members are developers, publishers and providers of digital games, and they represent over 85 per cent of the German market. The BIU is, for example, the sponsor of gamescom. As an expert partner for media and for political and social institutions, the BIU answers all questions on the topic of digital games.

Press contact

Martin Puppe
BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware e. V.
Charlottenstrasse 62
10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 2408779 20
Fax: +49 (0)30 2408779 11
Email: puppe@biu-online.de
Twitter: @game_eV

Martin Puppe
+49 30 240 87 79 20