Publishers report increased digital sales in 2016

It’s financial report season in the games industry, and several companies have revealed that digital sales are on the rise.

Microsoft kicked things off stating its software sales and services revenue were up 18 per cent year-on-year, and that digital transactions reached $1bn [800m] this quarter. The company also revealed that its Xbox Live service now has 55m active users, showing a growth of 15 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

EA, meanwhile, revealed that 32 per cent of its unit sales had been digital over the last nine months, and that this figure was ahead of its own expectations of 29 per cent.

The 32 per cent number is a trailing 12-month number for all of our titles on Gen 4 consoles, and as comparison, in fiscal 2015, that number was 20 per cent; fiscal 2016, it was 24 per cent; and this year, it’s running at 32 per cent. We thought it would be probably 29 per cent for the full [fiscal] year, so [we’re] running ahead of that,” EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen said during an investor call.

Capcom also reported high digital download sales, particularly in the US and Europe. The company sold a total of 6.1m digital units over the last nine months, a rise of 21.1 per cent year-on-year. Packaged sales were also up 19.1 per cent year-on-year, totalling 8.9m units.

Take-Two had a stellar year for digital downloads as well, with digital revenue soaring 64 per cent year-on-year to reach $240m [192m]. GTA V, Civilization VI and NBA 2K17 were the biggest contributors to this figure, with 39 per cent of the $240m coming from recurrent consumer spending on items such as virtual currency, micro-transactions and DLC.

Take-Two also said that Q3 was its best ever quarter for recurrent consumer spending, contributing 20 per cent to the publisher’s overall net revenue figure of $476.5m [381m].

Not all publishers experienced high digital sales, however, as Sega reported stronger growth from its packaged game sales. This rose 29 per cent year-on-year during Q3, hitting 37.3bn [267m]. Digital sales, meanwhile, grew by just 6 per cent year-on-year, hitting 35bn [250m].

Sega also noted that packaged game sales hit 8.13m units over the last nine months, which surpassed the units sales for the same period last year.

Sony and Nintendo, meanwhile, didn’t release any exact figures concerning its physical/digital split, but Nintendo said digital sales were also down to a large extent on the same period last year.”

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