U.S. consumers spent a total of $14.8 billion on video game content in 2012, down nine per cent from $16.34 billion the previous year.
That’s according to a new report from retail monitor the NPD Group, which primarily attributes the decline to a drop in physical retail sales.
While total physical spending on games (new, used, rental) dropped 21 per cent year-over-year, from $11.25 billion to $8.88 billion, digital spending increased by 16 per cent, from $5.09 billion to $5.92 billion.
The decline is perhaps unsurprising given that we’re in the late stages of what has been an unusually long home console cycle, although two new gaming platforms launched last year in the form of Vita and Wii U in February and November respectively. The market appears to be crying out for fresh home console hardware from Microsoft and Sony, and its calls are expected to be answered in time for the 2013 holiday season.
Last month, NPD revealed the ten best-selling U.S. retail games of 2012, with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 coming out on top. Check out our list of the 100 most anticipated games of 2013.