Australian Video Game Retail Holds Steady, Digital Sales On The Increase

Australian Video Game Retail Holds Steady, Digital Sales On The Increase

In the face of steadily declining numbers in previous years 2013, it seems, was a stronger year for video games at retail. With the release of new consoles and the continued success of the 3DS, retail held steady, whilst digital sales increased dramatically.

According to research group NPD, a 13 per cent bump in hardware sales at retail was partly responsible. Sales of the Xbox One and PS4 no doubt helped contribute. In total $1.13 billion in traditional retail sales was recorded. Software sales accounted for $654 million of that total.

The sales story for the Australian games industry has been relatively bleak over the last couple of years, mainly because there was a real difficulty in communicating the business’s transition from retail to digital sales. The recorded retail numbers were dropping but, with no way to record precisely how much was being made across various different digital networks (such as iOS, Xbox LIVE and Google Play) it was difficult to argue that the market for video games in this country was actually growing, not shrinking.

But, for the second year running, the IGEA commissioned research into how much Australians were spending digitally and that number has increased dramatically: at total of $899 million, a 50 per cent increase over last year. That might be the real story here: the massive year-on-year increase in digital spending, particularly in the mobile space.

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

Ron Curry, CEO of the IGEA, was pleased with the results.

“Traditional sales have remained steady across the industry,” he said. “Despite concerns about retail, software sales recorded over $654 million dollars for 2013. 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 only thing keeping bricks and motar game stores alive in Australia is our atrocious internet speeds, and the equally atrocious poor selection of actually downloadable games on the console stores.

    I’d be interested to see a break down of PC v Console game sales in store because I suspect due to things like Steams excellent catalogue of downloadable games PC game sales are woeful.

    • There’s been a big push with physical PC games to have a collector’s edition for just about everything, so I would guess PC sales aren’t as bad as you first think.

    • I still buy physical copies of games that even use steam. usually cause I find them cheaper in stores! after steam converts to US I’m still able to save 15-20 bucks. I did with arma3. blops2 MW3 and also PS3 games ect.

  • I think a lot of items are actually being bought overseas. So they won’t be counting these towards the numbers. People have woken up and are parallel importing.

    • Of course now ozgameshop charges for shipping so some of the advantage of importing has been reduced. People might be more willing to pay a little more to get it day one if the alternative is to save $10 instead of $20.

  • Yeah and because of that the price of digital goods are steadily increasing with “Australia Tax” as well as they noticed the sales are going towards digital.

    Good example is ESO. Digital Imperial cost $80 USD and it cost $120AUD in Australia. Put in currency conversion and 10% GST on it, it will still cost less than $100. Digital goods are not taxed in US and that is a factor of the slight price hike while vendors in Australia continue to rip off locals by putting a much higher profit margin.

    50% more expensive than competitors will definitely show decline in sales at this rate. They also need to think about how Australians can obtain digital goods. Physical games may be slightly harder as it requires import and some people are not willing to do that but digital goods on the other hand is a different matter. Some easily accessible website such as GMG and Gamefly offer great prices for digital goods.

    Look at the Australia PSN department. Most of my friends are using US PSN account on their Vita and PS3/4 to purchase stuff at much cheaper price.

    I have not touch on the big companies such as Adobe and Microsoft but at this rate. Digital games sales in Australia will have a steady decline. They managed to force big importers like ozgameshop to put in Australia tax making their price pretty much comparable with JB. They are slowly forcing GST for digital goods reseller too. Look at GMG with their (AU) games. Bull crap.

    I am expecting a fall of sales for both physical and digital next fiscal year.

  • I actually think that most prices are a bit lower than they used to be. JB will sell most new games for $70-80 and EB will price match and sometimes even sell at $80 already. There’s still a way to go – CoD at $120 is kind of insulting- but at least it’s not getting worse.

  • Just walk into in games shop (jbhifi,eb games,etc) and you will see the pc section is just a corner. The likes of STEAM, GMG, and OZGameshop is where the majority of PC gamers get their games now.
    Hell the only thing i get from my local EB games now is the collectors edition from Blizzard games, otherwise i by online

  • “Consumers spent more than $452 million on mobile games in 2013, with 70 per cent of that on in-game, micro-transactions,”

    Shit. Me. That’s a lot of numbers for micro-transactions on mobile games alone.

  • Am I the only person that likes buying from retail stores and not really care that much about digital? >:

  • I like having physical game copies so I lean that way unless a game is super cheap digitally then I would get it that way. Like last year when I was able to get max payne 1,2,3, far cry 3 and far cry 3: blood dragon for about $40 off xbox live.

  • I buy a mix of digital and physical. However I can’t remember the last time I picked up a physical copy of a PC game.

    On PS3 I have enough of a back log that I can wait till most titles hit the the $40 – $60 mark on Dungeon Crawl – prefer buying from Dungeon Crawl to support local retailers.

    I think the traditional retailers are the ones who will be hurting the most, if they’re not already.

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