PC downloads 'worth $1bn in 2009'

Develop '09: And market for digital was $600m last year says GfK ChartTrack
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The value of the PC digital distribution will comfortably sail past the $1bn barrier this year.

According to Dorian Bloch, the business group director of GfK-ChartTrack - who was speaking on a panel discussion at this week's Develop conference in Brighton - 2009 sales of games through the likes of Steam, Direct2Drive and other download services will have pushed the total past that watershed number.

And that's growth in the market of almost 200% - according to Bloch, the market was approximately worth $600m in 2008.

In the discussion he said downloads were now "a huge business", but added that he still needs publisher support to make sure that these numbers are properly promoted.

Develop understands that at GfK-ChartTrack Bloch has been leading a drive to meet with publishers and digital distribution firms and convince them to collate a consistent regular chart of sales and figures for clearly important download sector.

The move would further legitimise a booming sector - but there is still work to be done in winning the industry over, it seems. Without more data, GfK-ChartTrack won't be able to properly represent digital sales, said Bloch.

He added that some forward-thinking publishers that have seen great success with digital products (such as Sega with its Football Manager's digital transactions and Total War games sold via Steam) have helped campaign for this. But Bloch said "a balanced approach" from other publishers is needed for the true power of downloads to be understood.


Development: the $1bn game

SPECIAL REPORT: Rising budgets, new studios and surprise deals have brought 2006 to a tremendous close for Western games production – $600m was invested in European and North American studios over the last 12 months, taking the year’s spending past the $1bn mark.