Paid downloadable game sales are on the rise. It is hard to estimate the value of the downloadable game market. It is estimated that the Steam digital distribution platform owned by Valve made approximately $900 million in sales in 2010. The Electronic Arts (EA) estimates it made $800 million from digital sales in 2011 and sees a continued upward trend.
The developers of downloadable games see some advantages in digital distribution. They don’t have to rely on retail distributers to distribute and promote their product. They can also save packaging cost that they have to pay to conventional distribution channels and keep that money for themselves. In regard to piracy, game developers have more protection. They can get the product out to the market with a click compared to time consuming distribution channels of conventional product distribution.
However, game developers are still faced with obstacles. Retail customers are still like the physical copy for its resale value. Slow download speeds, restrictions on digital rights, capacity limitations of their devices and availability of broadband are some other concerns that game developers have to overcome. But given the rapid expansion of technology, digital download of games will continue to grow in the future.