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Digital, used sales and rentals boost video game industry

November 15, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Total game industry revenue was stronger in the third quarter when digital, used titles and rentals are included.
Total game industry revenue was stronger in the third quarter when digital,… (Toby Madden )

While sales of new video game discs have been plummeting all year, it turns out gamers are spending their money to play in other ways.

During the third quarter (from July through September), total spending on video games -- new and old, purchases and rentals, physical and digital -- totaled $1.07 billion in the U.S., according to research firm NPD Group. That's down only 1% from a year ago.

Those figures are more heartening to the game industry than monthly figures for new physical game sales and consoles that are released by NPD. In total, spending on physical games dropped 16% during the third quarter, and spending on games on digital platforms jumped 22%.

Video game publishers make no money from used game sales or rentals (besides the initial sales of those titles). However, they typically make even higher profit margins from digital downloads of mobile apps and extra content for console and social titles than from sales of game discs.

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