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Mass retailers and specialist games stores are set to come under pressure after new research revealed that sales of PC games via downloads have exceeded shop sales for the first time.

Mass retailers and specialist games stores are set to come under pressure after new research revealed that sales of PC games via downloads have exceeded shop sales for the first time.
In the first six months of 2010, 11.2 million full games for the PC were bought online in the USA compared to 8.2 million physical unit sales said the NPD Group who also claimed that in some Countries like Australia the number could be higher.
Also impacting retailers is the purchase online of mobile games with this set to grow as new Android and Windows based tablets are released into the market. 
The BBC said that topping the list of download sites was Steam, the online shop of game developer Valve which created Half-Life, Left 4 Dead and many others.
Despite the prevalence of downloads, physical sales generated more cash for retailers such as JB Hi Fi who is Australia’s largest seller of games in Australia.
NPD said that PC sales of games via retailers, made up 57% of all cash spent on PC games, compared to 43% for a download made online. 
NPD said this was due to the higher average price of games sold in stores.
The figures also revealed that the total sales of downloads and in-shop sales were down 21% on the same period in 2009.
“The overall decline of PC games when combining sales via both digital downloads and physical retail sales is impacted by the expansion of social network gaming as well as the continued expansion of free game options,” said Anita Frazier, NPD Group industry analyst in a statement.
Ms Frazier said the research also revealed that established game download sites were prospering at the expense of smaller outfits. For instance, she said, sites such as Steam and Bigfish have both grown their share of the games market in the last 12 months. 
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