This day has been a long time coming, but NPD announced this week that digital sales of PC games had overtaken boxed sales in the US in terms of pure volume.
The figures show that for the first half of 2010 (January to June) approximately 19.4 million PC games were sold. Of these, 11.2 million, or 57.7 per cent, were attributed to digital downloads, with the remaining 8.2 million units being physical copies. This is the first time that digital distribution has accounted for the lion's share of PC games sales.
Unsurprisingly, Valve's Steam platform led the charge with the highest share of mainstream - as opposed to casual - game sales, followed by Direct2Drive and EA.com. Interestingly, the official World of Warcraft site took the fourth place, followed by developer Blizzard's online portal.
However, the numbers were reversed in terms of revenue, with boxed copies accounting for 57 per cent of sales. The analysts put this down to the higher price normally charged for boxed games, though we'd attribute the discrepancy to the abundance of deals run by digital services that routinely see prices slashed.
It wasn't all good news, though, as total PC game sales saw an overall decrease of 14 per cent year-on-year, with revenues dropping by around 21 per cent. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, the decline is a result of "the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options".
In terms of casual games, retailer BigFishGames held the top spot, with Gamehouse and iWin rounding out the top three.