As everyone gathers together for what promises to be the biggest E3 for years, the industry seems to remain in its constant state of disruption. Of course that's what makes it such an exciting industry to be part of and I can't wait to be there for the first time.
There are of course lots of eyes particularly on what happens when Sony and Microsoft release their latest cutting edge consoles on to the market but we've also have new entrants like Ouya, Gamestick and others, as well as the obvious established giants such as Apple, Google and Valve who are all very much capable of further influencing how and where we play games.
It's never been more important for all games businesses to get some real, robust insight in to the digital market. We took a big step towards this with the official launch of the first PC Digital Charts based on real sales this month. And I shall be armed at E3 with some juicy insights from the Charts to try and get more data.
The data goes directly to Ipsos who were appointed to build the data portal and verify the data, straight from developers and publishers to give an accurate picture of what the market is doing across all the main online marketplaces (including Steam – if the products are released on it).
The new charts also combine online data with the incredibly accurate GFK Chart-Track boxed product data that we already have exclusive access to – giving games businesses for the first time the ability to truly compare digital and physical sales.
Businesses using the system are already seeing the benefit. And the magic is if they put in their data, they get to see other people's data. For free. For now. We've had our Research Analyst Osman Iqbal trawl through the top line data that we've had from the last year and it's already giving us fresh new insights in to how the PC market is performing:
• There are several genres where digital is outperforming physical. Action, strategy and RPG all outsold their physical counterparts in 2012.
• The most common price point for DLC content sold in 2012 was 1.00-1.99, with a third of titles being sold at this amount. It is interesting that 14% of DLC content is being sold at a premium price point of 10+, dominated by the simulation genre.
• The average price for full games were 14.80 for boxed and 14.50 for digital, which highlights are close that both these mediums are in terms of sales. It can be argued that digital represents a more profitable route to market given that boxed games need to be manufactured, CDs replicated, shipping costs and stock returns taken into account.
• Physical games have a small sales peak at Easter and a major boost in Nov-Dec, whereas digital games peak in summer due to digital store sales. This makes PC less seasonal that any other platform and gives companies a more reliable business model where revenue can be shared throughout a year.
• We are already seeing digital sales exceeding physical in some months (July and August 2012); this is despite us only having 10 companies reporting digital sales compared to the entirety of the boxed physical market.
• 30 per cent of games had their digital sales and volume as greater than boxed; a figure we are likely to see increase over the coming months and years.
And this is just the beginning. The PC download chart will be the first of hopefully many charts that give insight in to all the main digital marketplaces.
But the charts can only be as good as the data that they are made up of and we need as many IP owners as possible, big or small, developer or publisher, to be part of it. It's important to understand that whilst Ukie has seed funded, if you like, this, the Charts are for the entire industry.
You don't need to be a Ukie member to be part of the charts; all you need to do to access the data is share your own sales information in to the bigger pot and you'll get access to the data and new reports through our online portal. The more data we see in there, the fewer stories we will read about the decline of our industry. And that's good business for everyone.
Catch me at E3 if you want to know more.