Up to a quarter of current-gen games are being sold digitally instead of at retail, says Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz in a new report.
"Given the strong shift toward new-gen games that is apparent from recent data, and the fact that digital currently appears to be taking as much as 25 percent share of total new-gen sales depending on the game, we continue to expect total Q4 physical unit sales to be down double-digits year-over-year," Creutz wrote, as reported by VentureBeat
According to the site, research firm NPD says that game sales were down 28 percent year-over-year for October -- but adding in digital sales would make up a big chunk of that number.
This is not surprising, as we've had other indications that this trend is only on the rise.
Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime revealed
that 20 percent of copies of Smash Bros. for 3DS
were sold digitally in the U.S., and David Wharton, the company's director of marketing and analytics for its digital storefront, the eShop, told Gamasutra
that the percentage is "even higher on a couple of other titles."
Activision CFO Dennis Durkin said
that the current generation of consoles is seeing a big boost in digital downloads, and Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg said that "we expect [Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
] will be the most digitally purchased game in console history," by a "wide" margin.
By 2017, research firm IHS projects
that 34 percent of console games will be sold digitally.