NPD's upcoming "Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend" report, to be released later this month, estimates that revenue from sources including used games, game rentals, game subscriptions, digital full game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile game apps combined to make up roughly 40 percent of total industry spending in the first half of the year.
The report puts the size of this market, which is not usually measured in NPD's monthly industry tracking reports
, at $2.6 to $2.9 billion, or roughly 70 to 80 percent of the $3.7 billion spent on new retail sales of hardware, software and accessories in the first six months of the year.
"While the new physical retail channel still generates the majority of industry sales, our expanded research coverage allows us to assess the total consumer spend across the growing number of ways to acquire and experience gaming, including social networks," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.
The impact of used game sales has been a hot topic in the industry of late, with many publishers beginning to charge
used game purchasers for access to online functions and certain downloadable content that's included for free with new purchases.
The industry has also struggled to accurately capture the size of the market for social and mobile games, which often generate most of their revenue from in-game item purchases and downloadable content rather than direct sales. NPD's says its estimates for this segment of the market come from a combination of point-of-sale data and consumer research tracking.