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Online, Mobile Driving Video Game Sales

30 Jul, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel


The ongoing decline in sales of packaged media video games across the United States and Western Europe will be offset by the growth in online and mobile gaming, according to a new report.

Games sales are expected to reach $15.7 billion by 2015, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. The rise in online gaming is spreading the popularity of gaming as an activity across a wider demographic, driven by the adoption of free app-based games, casual online games and gaming subscription services.

This is impacting consumer spending on packaged games, with a 15% and 12% decline expected in 2012 in the United States and Western Europe, respectively, as current consoles mature and smartphone, tablet and online gaming continue to gain in prominence. However, gaming hardware and content manufacturers have a lucrative opportunity to generate revenue streams and reduce customer churn by delivering enhanced subscriptions and downloadable content to subscribers, according to London-based Futuresource.

The retail value of online games is expected to hit $6 billion in 2015 in the United States, a rise from $3 billion in 2011, and in Western Europe the value is expected to reach 3 billion euros in 2015, rising from 1.5 billion euros in 2011.
Growth in mobile gaming has been triggered by the widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones has driven growth in mobile gaming, including low-priced and free apps. However, this is negatively impacting the handheld gaming market and drawing casual gamers away from consoles.

Browser and social network based games are driving growth in PC online gaming and although they are often free, they can also support micropayments. Advanced PC-based services, including Steam, are also becoming popular, with multiplatform capabilities seen as a major growth area.

The anticipated launch of new consoles, including Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox 720 and Nintendo Wii U in late 2012 and late 2013 are expected to support packaged media and provide a much-needed boost for console manufacturers and publishers alike, with the industry hoping to attract lapsed users, the study predicts. However, a slow decline will follow as few users will replace existing devices as gaming needs are increasingly being satisfied with non-dedicated gaming products, and digital delivery begins to fulfill the role of catalog sales, according to Futuresource.

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