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Consumers moving towards videogame downloads
9:49am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in Leisure
Low retail sales of games is an indication of the falling desirability of box copies of games and the shift away from publishers, a major videogame organisation said today.
TIGA, which represents the industry, believes more needs to be done to educate consumers about the large number of games currently being sold direct to gamers by developers.
Games retailers in the UK generated £8.4m from software sales last week which, according to trade publication MCV, was the lowest since records began. The magazine said this was due to economic woes, the end of the console cycle and the rise of digital and downloadable content although it also said major events such as the Olympics could also be blamed.
TIGA believes that digital sales are having a major impact on physical sales and that developers can benefit hugely from the direct route to market. But it warns that a report in July by the NPD Group showed rising digital revenue was not growing fast enough to make up for the steep declines in sales of packaged media.
TIGA has a Self-Publishing Group chaired by Patrick O'Luanaigh, CEO of nDreams. It is working to enable developers to become self-publishers and shares best practice information and advice. TIGA has also published a Guide to Self-Publishing which has been made available to all members for free, offering guidance on self-publishing issues.
In recent years, there has been a massive explosion in the number of self-publishing developers with smartphone and social media gaming proving especially popular. Apple's App Store surpassed the 25 billion download mark and games regularly take up 70 per cent of the top 10. The three major consoles – the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii – also have digital distribution platforms and, when PC and Mac gaming are included, it is clear there is a great opportunity for developers to be creative and maximise their revenue.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said: "Consumers are familiar with downloading games. particularly on tablets and mobile phones, and we have seen real growth in this direction. With more developers deciding to sell their games direct through digital distribution channels, there is a real opportunity for both creativity and revenue. The figures show a real need by developers to understand the importance of distribution, marketing and publicity to ensure they maximise their sales."
Patrick O'Luanaigh, TIGA BOARD member and CEO of nDreams, said: "Surely it is now time for retail publishers with their huge marketing experience to find a new way of working with independent studios with strong digital talent. The old model where publishers owned all the IP and offered ‘net of everything’ royalties can’t work anymore. Lots of UK studios are now self-publishing, but many talented teams still need either financial assistance or marketing expertise to bring a successful game to market. I applaud initiatives like the new Activision Mobile publishing label and hope that more publishers go down this kind of route.”
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