Game industry spending stays flat in first quarter of 2013

According to the latest data from research firm NPD, gamers spent a total of $3.5 billion during the first quarter of the year.

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Microsoft's Xbox One
Microsoft's Xbox One Microsoft

The game industry's sales during the first quarter remained flat, new data from research firm NPD has confirmed.

During the first quarter of 2013, total game content spending in the U.S. hit $3.5 billion, matching what was spent during the same period in 2012. A total of $1.37 billion was spent on physical console and PC games (meaning discs) while used and rental spending hit $559 million. Total spending on digital content reached $1.59 billion.

"Digital spending fully offset the declines in physical format spend in Q1'13," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst at The NPD Group. "There is strong growth in full-game downloads and downloadable add-on content sales across consoles, PCs, and portables, up a combined 25 percent in the first quarter of this year."

Looking ahead, there's a good chance that the game industry will see some growth toward the end of this year and early next year. Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to launch new consoles this year, which should spur spending growth. We'll find out more from both companies at the E3 gaming conference next week:

Microsoft's Xbox One at E3 2013: Join us Monday, 9:30 a.m. PT (live blog)

Sony's PS4 at E3 2013: Join us Monday, 6 p.m. PT (live blog)