New Zealand Spends More On Digital Video Games Than It Does In Stores

On Friday, the iGEA, NPD and research group Telsyte revealed just how much money Australians spent on video games in 2013. That figure was high, but of particular interest was the digital/tradition retail split. Australians are spending more on digital each year, but we can't keep up with our friends in New Zealand.

Today New Zealand revealed its own version of Australia's sales figures, and it turns out that New Zealanders — proportionally — are spending more on digital games that they are at retail.

New Zealand consumers spend $133 million on video games at retail over the course of last year, but $166 million on digital. Australians, to compare, spent $1.13 billion at retail and $899 million on digital gaming goods. That was a 50% year on year increase for Australians, but we still couldn't keep pace with New Zealand, who are — it seems — larger consumers of digital video games.

Mobile games accounted for 57% of digital sales and spent more than twice the amount of cash on in-game purchases compared to up-front game purchases.

“We’re seeing more New Zealanders consume games across a wide variety of consoles and mobile devices and consequently, extend the ‘traditional’ console experience with in-game extras bought online or a version of the game which users can access via their smartphone and other internet connected devices,” said Mark Goodacre, IGEA’s New Zealand Director.

Incredibly consumers are expected to double their digital spending in 2014.


    Can I see sales for illegal downloading compared to retail and digital? I have a feeling it's been getting higher each year.

      The number of sales for illegal downloading is 0. Don't know about total illegal downloads but the amount of games piracy has fallen significantly since digital distribution has grown.

      Last edited 17/02/14 1:38 pm

        Really? Because digital distribution has become annoying in Australia to the point that people start pirating everything.

          I think that annoyance is more around TV and Film availability, rather than digital distribution for video games.

          Personally, I only download video games now, and never buy hard copies. It's almost always cheaper than non-digital, and even with our shitty infrastructure I can get most new games in less than 24 hours.

          Last edited 17/02/14 2:14 pm

            I was talking about in general and not just for videogames.

          Nope. People used to pirate because of convenience. Steam has become more convenient, and due to steam sales, flexible in pricing as well. This has smashed piracy.

          Media such as videos/music its still a big issue, but music piracy has declined significantly with the introduction of spotify/itunes etc.

            This can't possibly be true. People pirate because all consumers are greedy, lying scumbags out to wring free content from the noble content creators. Ready availability of content at a reasonable price couldn't possibly affect piracy levels.

            Check this with Peter Brandis. He'll sort you out.

              Apologies. I checked with Grand Master Brandis from the almighty old white businessmen's club and have been cured for my ill thoughts.
              I see now that everything I said was wrong. Not in the factual, traditional sense, but in the moral sense. But only in so far as what the consumer does can be wrong, but not what a business does can be wrong.

              Man. I don't see how someone manages to support that party, I tie myself in knots trying not to contradict the statements.

      I don't see why, ever since Steam sales, GOG and even Microsoft and Sony offering impressive discounts on their games along with an increased online presence in games that piracy would actually be falling.

    Since I've moved to NZ ( from Aus ) about 5 years ago, I've never been to a retailer for games. I've often been through the gaming section in stores and did have a brief look at some prices, I looked and thought "WTF!? $120 for a copy of Res evil 1 !?!? $400 for a copy of Dead space!?". I'm exaggerating but the fact is from what I've seen of physical game prices compared to digital, I can get far cheaper downloading. I don't even remember prices being so high in Aus for hard copies.

    And here's the "thing"...When you live in a big city like Auckland or Wellington, you physically go to a game store, plenty of them around. But there are also a great deal of towns between cities and it's far more convenient to purchase digital goods rather than spend $20 fuel on a trip to the nearest big town.

    Their Internet infrastructure is way better than ours. Coincidence?

    Is it just me, or does the clear window right of the note look like a blade saw heading straight for the Queen's neck?

    Jokes aside, isn't the GST/Taxing in New Zealand a bit higher than us? I even sometimes see on the tag when I get magazines or books from a local store the New Zealand price can be 5 to 10 dollars more than the Australian price.

    Last edited 17/02/14 1:18 pm

      Yup. 15% GST in NZ vs 10% in AU.
      Games are also more expensive in general. Bravely Default is $80 while it is $60 in AU.
      But then again the AU dollar is worth 1.08 NZ, so there is a slight difference in value.

      And to top it off... The game stores in Wellington really don't stock many decent games (that is if you prefer to play games that aren't Call of Duty or Rugby).

      But there is some decent online stores that will mail out

    I never buy digital cos it seems to cost so much more even for older games, import all the way unless I need on release.

      Can't speak much for newer games, but if you are after older games have you tried

      For the most part, the games are classic, are cheap and come with no DRM. As an added sweetener buying the game also gains access to additional downloads such as the game soundtrack, wall papers and even making of material depending on the game.

        sorry I should have said I'm on console and I use

          PSN is definitely overpriced. And not just the old games. For example, when Fifa 13 came out it cost $120 on PSN, while retailers sold it for $90.

    I personally much prefer buying physical copies of my games as I like to physically own them. Same goes with movies and music.

      I've been moving countries pretty constantly for the last 6 years. I haven't bought a physical copy of anything for a long time. The last one might have been Stalker Clear Sky and that was an anomaly. I haven't regularly bought physical games since about 2005.

    It makes more sense if we consider specifically for PC games rather than consoles.
    With Steam sales and the rise of Indie bundles, you get more entertainment per dollar in digital downloads (i.e. $6 for 10 games) than buying retail ($70-120 per copy). Although they are mostly small titles, big titles (i.e. Civ V) are also starting to get on the bundles.
    The difference is so significant, I reckon some PC game pirates end up being regular buyers in legal digital distribution.
    Of course, it also make sense with smartphone games raking up the digital purchases (of both actual game and in-app items), since their consumer base is much bigger and broad.

    what... Kiwis spend more than us!?
    c'mon guys, lets not let the kiwis beat us!
    Break out your credit cards and lets go nuts, show em how its done!

    Who needs that stinking NBN... 25Mbps is fiiiiiiiiine.....

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