The Australian video games industry has grown in total sales by 15 per cent, reaching over $2.83 billion in 2015. And for the first time, digital sales have surpassed traditional retail — accounting for 56 per cent of revenue.
The research released today by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) found that the industry saw digital sales grow by 27 per cent over the last year to $1.589 billion to surpass traditional retail sales, which had also increased by 2 per cent to $1.243 billion.
Market data from NPD Group Australia found that the rapid adoption of the current generation console hardware has driven growth of software and ancillary products including, accessories, interactive toys and games and subscription cards.
Now in its third consecutive year, additional research on the digital games market, commissioned by IGEA from analyst firm Telsyte, confirmed that the popularity of the current generation consoles has led to increased digital game downloads this year.
Similarly, PC game downloads have also increased and mobile games continue to be largest segment of the digital games ecosystem.
"It has been another very strong year of growth for the Australian video games industry," said Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA. "Digital sales continue to surge in Australia as consumers become increasingly comfortable purchasing downloaded versions and additional content of their favourite games. The current generation of consoles have been adopted rapidly by Australians, highlighting that gaming culture has become well and truly mainstream in the intervening years.
"This has had a flow on effect to the increased sale of both packaged games and digital content."
"With that being said, there was very clear evidence that there is still a strong appetite for traditional retail purchases, as Telsyte’s research shows that 39 per cent of consumers citing a preference for physical copy for gifting and to collect."
Overall, the wide variety of content delivery mechanisms within the industry has been a key component of its overall growth. While some specific sectors within the video games industry fell in 2015 such as hardcopy PC games, the increased growth from other sectors, most notably within console and mobile gaming, bolstered the market as a whole. Arguably as the largest entertainment industry globally, the innovation and variation within the industry points to further growth in years to come.
"Interactive games remains the standout performer in the entertainment industry and in 2015 continued to lead the way in innovation and popular culture," says Foad Fadaghi, Managing Director, Telsyte.
Riding the wave of the new generation of consoles (Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U and Sony PlayStation 4), they are leading the way in terms of sales — both for hardware and software. Current generation console sales increased from 2014 by 9 per cent, while console software increased in revenue by 13 per cent. Console accessory sales also went up — by 12.2 per cent.
While R rated games gain a lot of mainstream media attention, over half (59 per cent) of game units sold were classified as G, PG or M.
Digital extras, such as season passes, map packs and game expansions, also grew in sales — by 53 per cent. In-game purchases being adopted by puiblishers in one of the main factors for this massive growth.