Retail Sales of Video Games Hold Steady and Digital Sales Exceed Expectations


Sydney, Australia – 13 February 2014 – Australia’s video and computer games industry held steady in 2013, recording $1.14 billion of ‘traditional retail’ sales in addition to an estimated $899 million of digital sales, according to research released by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA).

The latest data from independent market researcher NPD Group Australia reveals that video and computer games sales through traditional bricks and mortar retail remained steady compared to 2012.

The industry’s solid sales figures were largely driven by a 13 per cent increase in hardware sales after the next generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia launched late last year, combined with a strong showing by Nintendo’s 3DS handheld console including the recently released Nintendo 2DS console.

According to research commissioned by IGEA from emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte, the Australian digital video games market is valued at $899 million based on digital game sales, downloads, subscriptions, and mobile games last year – an increase of nearly 50 per cent over 2012.

The combined data from traditional sales (provided by NPD Group Australia) and the digital value of the market from Telsyte demonstrates the true value of the industry to be in excess of $2billion said IGEA’s CEO Ron Curry.

“Traditional sales have remained steady across the industry. Despite concerns about retail, software sales recorded over $654 million dollars for 2013,” said Curry. “The data from NPD Group is encouraging and shows that bricks and mortar retailers have maintained their fundamental role in providing hardware, software, digital content and merchandise to consumers. According to the Telsyte data, more consumers are in fact now purchasing their content digitally and overall we can see that the interactive games and entertainment industry is really thriving.”

The market continues to evolve with games being delivered and consumed across a diverse range of consoles and mobile devices. This gives users the opportunity to game, where they want, when they want, extending their experience from the home to a mobile device, often playing the same game.

“The research commissioned for our members, backs up the industry’s optimism, as publishers and developers continue to provide consumers with a variety of interactive media in both physical and digital formats,” said Curry.

Sam Yip, Senior Research Manager for Telsyte, stated that the growth in digital sales is largely driven by the popularity of mobile games, which accounted for nearly half of all digital games purchases.

“Consumers spent more than $452 million on mobile games in 2013, with 70 per cent of that on in-game, micro-transactions,” said Yip. “At this rate, mobile game revenue could exceed that for physical games within a couple of years.”

IGEA has partnered with NPD to provide traditional retail sales data for many years and is now in the second year of commissioning research from Telsyte, to provide valuable industry insights to its membership including digital, mobile and online game sales.

Key highlights from NPD Group Australia *:

  • During 2013 a number of software franchises including Grand Theft Auto, Battlefield, Bioshock, Tomb Raider and Pokémon have improved their market share significantly over 2012.
  • A new franchise, The Last of Us, entered the Top 10 best selling titles in 2013
  • Categories like PC Games Sub Cards and Portable Games Cards continue to have significant Dollar Percentage Change improvements (16 per cent and 75 per cent)
  • With only 6 weeks of sales of 8th Generation Console Hardware in Australia, the value within the category (excluding portables) for the entire year improved 27%
  • Consoles Accessories also improved its Year on Year total category value during 2013, driven by Interactive Gaming Toys: Skylanders & Disney Infinity
  • Unrestricted computer and video games, which are classified as G, PG or M, made up 55 per cent of all software unit sales

Key highlights from Telsyte **:

  • Mobile games (upfront and in-game purchases) account for nearly half of the digital games market at $452 million, followed by Digital Downloads (full games and in-game extras) at $265 million, Social/Casual games at $98 million and Subscriptions (console network and MMOG) at $84 million.
  • Consumers spent more than twice as much on in-game micro-transactions compared to up-front mobile game purchases in 2013. This trend is expected to continue with more freemium games flooding iOS and Android platforms.
  • Consumers are expected to double their spend on digital downloads, subscriptions and services within online console networks in 2014.
  • Steam now makes up over half of all Australian digital games spending in the PC market, largely driven by gaming events, deals and special offers.

* Source: The NPD Group Australia. Category PC Games,Console Software,Portable Game Software, Time period(s) Jan 22012 – Dec 30 2012; Dec 31 2012 – Dec 29 2013. Country: Australia

** Source: Telsyte – IGEA Digital Market Monitor, 2013

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About the IGEA

The IGEA is an industry association representing the business and public policy interests of Australian and New Zealand companies in the computer and video game industry. IGEA’s members publish, develop, market and/or distribute interactive games and entertainment content and related hardware including mobile and handheld games.

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Media spokespeople available:

  • For interviews with Ron Curry (IGEA) contact Adam Knight Communications (+61 2 8016 2200)
  • For media interviews with Sam Yip, Telsyte, please contact him directly on:+ 612 8297 4607
  • For media interviews with Luis Gil, NPD, please contact him directly on +612 8257 6465

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