Sales of online games are expected to pass physical retail from 2013, an analyst at DFC Intelligence has claimed.
The report predicts that online sales will increase from $19.3 billion in 2010 to $37.9 billion by 2016, driving the overall industry value to $81 billion.
It also states that traditional retail will drop to $43 billion in 2016, down from a high of $58 billion in 2008.
“On a global basis it looks like retail delivery of physical software peaked in 2008. We expect a slow, steady decline for physical game sales, with a steady increase for online delivery of games and new business models such as subscriptions and virtual item sales,” said DFC analyst David Cole.
The report adds that the greatest area for growth in the game industry could be in PC and mobile, as they will expand their audiences whilst dedicated consoles face an uncertain future with Microsoft and Sony yet to announce new home systems.
“Systems like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are having their best sales ever five or six years into their lifecycle. Unfortunately this means Microsoft and Sony are in no hurry to launch new systems that would generate substantial consumer excitement and spending,” said Cole.