Digital distribution services like Steam are poised to overtake physical retail sales in the PC gaming market
In the early days of PC gaming most people got their gaming fix from games delivered by mail order. As sales increased, retail distribution of games on media such as floppy disks, CDs and eventually DVDs took over. Now further evidence of the changing gaming market landscape has been provided by market research company, The NPD Group. According to its PC Games Digital Downloads: Analyst Report, digital distribution is close to overtaking retail as the most popular form of distribution of PC games. The report says that 21.3 million PC full-game digital downloads were purchased online in the U.S. in 2009 compared to 23.5 million physical units purchased at retail in the same period – a difference of just 2.2 million.