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Digital Games Revenue Neared $1.2 Billion in December

Game downloads on consoles are up thanks to holiday sales, and mobile may be slowing down.

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The difference between digital and physical game sales is “now no more than a rounding error,” according to SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen.

The research firm said today that revenue from digital purchases of games and game add-on content came to about $1.18 billion in December 2014, up from $1.06 billion in December 2013. Game download sales on consoles were up 10 percent in the same period, SuperData reported.

Those sales, however, were driven by aggressive price cuts timed to the holidays. The average cost of a purchase in November on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was about $20, but in December that average fell to $7 and $11, respectively. And both of those were undercut by the leading PC game download platform, Steam, as shown in the graphic to the right; Steam has a long history of offering deeply discounted games during its annual holiday sale.

Taken as a whole, 2014 brought in $11.5 billion in digital games revenue, the report said. Mobile accounted for the plurality of that revenue with a take of $4 billion last year, but SuperData said the mobile market is starting to saturate, as November-to-December revenue growth was 8 percent in 2014, versus 20 percent in 2015. A recent report from app analytics firm Flurry found that games were the slowest-growing category of apps last year.

We’ll find out if van Dreunen’s “rounding error” claim is correct later today, when the NPD Group is expected to release its December totals of game hardware and software sales at retail stores.

Update: Game software at retail in December was 6 percent higher than digital, totaling $1.25 billion, according to the NPD Group.

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