A new study by DFC Intelligence claims digital distribution now makes up 92 percent of the PC games market. The marketshare of physical discs has shrunk from 52 percent in 2010 to a mere 8 percent in 2014, albeit in large part thanks to the success of free-to-play games.
In the console market the story is very different, analyst firm EEDAR estimates fewer than 20 percent of console game sales are downloads, while EA revealed last month that full game downloads make up just 10 to 15 percent of their console game business.
That may sound high, even to people who haven't bought a PC game on a disc for years, but it lines up with other numbers reported throughout the industry. Last year, Payday 2 publisher Starbreeze announced that 80 percent of its 1.58 million first-month sales came from downloads, for instance. And let's not forget the scores of PC games that are totally ignoring retail sales for 100 percent downloadable releases these days, from Dota 2 to Day Z.
Download-dominated PC gaming is a newer phenomenon than some gamers might realize. As recently as 2010, analyst firm NPD was estimating that downloads made up only 48 percent of all PC game sales.