Although console games are still largely tethered to the retail market, PC games are slowly moving away from the retail market. In fact, PC game unit sales from digital have surpassed retail since 2010. Retail sales still bring in more revenue due to fewer markdown sale periods, but revenue, too, will shift towards digital sales in time. Valve was really the driving factor behind this when they created Steam.
When released in 2004, there was little interest from fans and developers for Steam, but Valve kept marketing and adding features to it. They eventually found the key to profit: lots of competitive sales. These really pushed Steam to the forefront of consumer’s minds. They started buying more and more digital games instead of retail because the sales were just so good. They could find fairly recent games at half price or even less when retail stores were still selling it near full price. Continue Reading