56% of console gamers don't pay for games - Study

Newzoo findings indicate only about 44% of consumers spend money on software; 85% also buy preowned.

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Publishers have devised a number of clever ways to eke as much money out of gamers through digital sales as they can, ranging from online passes for online modes to season passes for downloadable content. A new study from market-research firm Newzoo that tracks DLC, preowned sales, and digital distribution offers one explanation why.

The good news? DLC revenues are on the rise.

According to Newzoo's findings, of the 82 million Americans who say they play console games, only about 36 million of them, or 44 percent, buy games at all. Instead, Newzoo found that games are more often than not shared between families or groups of friends.

Newzoo's study also found that of those Americans who do spend money on PC and console games, 85 percent also pick up preowned games. For 25 percent of game buyers, at least half of their budgets go toward secondhand purchases, according to Newzoo. On average, US gamers spend about 23 percent of their gaming budget on used software.

As noted by Newzoo and others, the secondhand issue is a boon to retailers but problematic for game makers, as publishers see no revenue from used sales.

The upside, the study notes, is that revenue generated from DLC sales on consoles and downloadable PC/Mac games is steadily growing. Newzoo found that downloadable PC/Mac game sales in 2011 have already surpassed boxed sales in 2010 in the US.

Further, Newzoo expects DLC spend to reach $960 million this year in the US. That number increases to $1.75 billion when DLC spend from the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Belgium is factored in.

Discussion

272 comments
Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

Game sales arent at all time lows, but see what everyone else is playing on live or psn and want to get in on it too. I beat one game at a time and i constantly have a back log...I only just got around to Bioshock a month or so ago, and I just started Mass Effect 2. The easier solution would be for publishers to cut game prices after a few months and sell digital direct. Make a game cheaper out of the gate if you buy it digitally and people will and then the early adopters wont be selling to gamestop bc they will have a digital purchase.

SeriousToast
SeriousToast

I love how it's some huge surprise that 85% of gamers buy pre-owned. I'm telling ya'. If the games had more content, people'd be playing them alot longer.

PesmergaYuber
PesmergaYuber

Bull If this is the case then game sales should be at all time lows. Keep in mind that they say in this study that they include the fact that owners share games in a household. They should be counting households instead of people. What about people who by games for others as gifts but don't play themselves? They would not be included in this study because they do not identify themselves as gamers, thereby skewing the numbers. They are presenting this study to make it look like people are stealing games. Problem - reaction - solution...

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

Used games were once new and were already paid for. do the devs wanna see 60 MORE dollars from the same game they already sold? "lets see if we can abolish the used game market and get 60 bucks multiple times for the same copy!" talk about greedy

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

I'd say, introduce a new gaming model wherein, the net cost of a game, including the DLCs is $60. The retail copy of the game could be priced at $40 with say, two DLCs to follow at $10 each or four DLCs for $5 each or some combination of that sort. That way, the net cost of the game would still be $60 including the DLCs. This would only increase the longevity of the game with a 0% increase in price from the $60 standard !!!

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

And yet gaming is STILL one of the most profitable markets in existence. Oh, boo hoo, mean old gamers like to sell games back and buy used games. Who owns these companies now, Rupert Murdoch?

CrouchingWeasel
CrouchingWeasel

Hey gaming industry..... want people to buy new games at full price? STOP RELEASING SO MUCH GENERIC RECYCLED CRAP.

OverRatedStuff
OverRatedStuff

@megakick Where the hell do you get your information? Just saying it doesn't make it so. You must be one of those retards that think iPads and cellphones will render PCs obsolete.

Amaster2
Amaster2

Well i suppose we as gamers can't complain too much about DLC. We definitely should when it's obscenely unfair, but at least we know that the money we paid for it is going straight to the game developers. I think I can be ok with more DLC in my games as long as i get the game slightly cheaper than when it first came out.

megakick
megakick

Nope PC games are goin obsolete. consumers want smaller gadgets not bigger Deal with it.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

So can we PC gamers stop getting the shaft for actually caring about gaming now? Haven't we proven with our machines that we're actually willing to spend money on it?

OverRatedStuff
OverRatedStuff

I've never borrowed a game and I almost always buy new since I'm a game enthusiast and I don't want to see this industry die or worst, see all those good game series out there get milked dry. I buy used when I'm uncertain of a game or the price is ridiculously lower than new. The reason is also because I have a job and nothing to pay except for my cellphone and my car(being 17 has its privileges).

megakick
megakick

2nd hand is OK? Don't you like to get a paycheck or maybe you don't have a job?

charlieboomboom
charlieboomboom

they are too creedy, just look at the sales numbers.. jezz read some of the comments..2nd hand is ok

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

These are all sort of obvious. If I have a friend with a game I'm kind of interested in,I borrow it from him to test it out. If I then REALLY want it,I get it new.If I want it,but not infectiously so,then I wait for a used copy. That's the economy we live in. The only solution I can think of is to release more awesome games,with lots of included "freebies" so people don't feel jibbed when DLC comes that adds some map or character for 5 or 6 bucks,and with awesome demos and promos that show off how awesome the game is,and what a wretched pain in your gut you'll have if you try to wait for a used copy.

TigerRifle1
TigerRifle1

Make games with great replay value. There problem solved, they won't trade them in or lend them to someone else because they'll be to busy playing them again and again.

Raxyman
Raxyman

And the numbers of buying people will ALWAYS buy used since then because while we actually have original copies the piracy version is much cheaper and better, with no paid DLCs no second passes and such...

trdrstv
trdrstv

@ Hrel "I'd love to pay for new games again. Charge 30 bucks and quite all the extra bull, map packs, extra characters, online passes, and I'll buy all my games new again. But you won't do that, " Sure they do. I got many GOTY editions new in box for $30 retail... you simply have to wait a little longer and can't get them on release day.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

I'm sure this is totally not a biased study paid for at arm's length by the game studios. Stop making crap games and overpricing them if you want people to pay for them.

K1DDO1979
K1DDO1979

44% of console gamers pay for games-study

K1DDO1979
K1DDO1979

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

AfrosRockMan
AfrosRockMan

Also, who else is willing to bet that these "Newzoo" wazoos are a bunch of shills?

AfrosRockMan
AfrosRockMan

I think the solution to all of this is to raise the old skull & crossbones... If they want to treat us like criminals, then lets act like criminals! They're screwing us over, so lets screw THEM over.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

I wonder when the tipping point was when digital sales overtook boxes sales on PC/Mac. Must have been some time in the last few years.

evaneself
evaneself

"downloadable PC/Mac game sales in 2011 have already surpassed boxed sales in 2010 in the US..." Paying for nothing, too many stupids that live with "Carpe Diem". I see death for classic sales.

anthonycg
anthonycg

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics" - Mark twain

Kou-Nurasaka
Kou-Nurasaka

Okay, but the fact remains that gamers are still buying 77% of their budgets on new games and hardware. Plus, I have stories of picking up cheap copies of DMC 2 years ago and becoming a fan of the series. I then bought DMC4 new, considering I wouldn't have if I had not played and enjoyed DMC. I also plan to pick up the new DMC as a result. Also, that is how I got my copies of PS1 FFV and FFVI, considered at the time when I purchased it there was no GBA remake. Game Dev need to realise that every other market has a viable used componet, car companies, clothing, housing, books, but only gaming seems to feel as though they are being cheated. I suggest they focus on making high quality games such as TES or Mass Effect have done. Those are the games I can justify spending $60 bucks for.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

Make games that are worth more than a rental and maybe I'll start buying more games! I don't usually buy games used unless I can't find them new anymore (Beyond Good & Evil for GameCube) or I'm mad at the company that makes the game and I don't want them to get my money (Kameo for XBox 360). I would have paid about double for Mad World when I finally decided to get it, but the store didn't have a new copy.

yodante
yodante

No, no, no, unless you put the game at 30 bucks, my torrent will flow.

Mr__Maniacal
Mr__Maniacal

this is a BS story garnered to generate sympathy for the DEVS Board of directors and their excuse to screw us out of more money than before.

Hrel
Hrel

I'd love to pay for new games again. Charge 30 bucks and quite all the extra bull, map packs, extra characters, online passes, and I'll buy all my games new again. But you won't do that, so I'll rip them, I'll buy used, I'll just go without. Anything I can do to discourage this despicable behavior. Halo anniversary, new, pre-order, 30 bucks. Why can't more games do this? I know it's not really "new", my point stands though.

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

These findings are obviously way off. Seems they wanted a story instead of giving some facts.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

"or 44 percent, buy games at all. Instead, Newzoo found that games are more often than not shared between families or groups of friends. " I know 100 people who play console games. I dont know 1 single person that shares and swaps games! It is kinda hard to play COD online with 1 copy! or any game for that matter. I guess if you have one family that has one console. of course they are not going to buy a copy for each member. they are stretching their data and findings. my gf played 5 minutes on a console once. is she now a casual console gamer? I guess then my 170 games count as her 170 games, and that means I shared them with her. I would like to understand how they came to these findings? How many copies are sold PER console! that is more important. for example they just reached the 57million mark for 360. well if they sell 20 million of COD MW3. that is nearly 30% for every xbox. AMAZING!!!! but if they say there are 200 million xbox gamers. Then their number is only 10% becasue they are couting every one in a household who even looks at the console. but that is an unfair observation becuase OF COUSE no one is going to buy multple copies for ONE console. they need to count game sales PER console, not PER gamer!!!!!

dstv
dstv

I buy games full price (i try to support the devs)......you don't treat your games with care until you actually buy them

chris_uk_83
chris_uk_83

I've found it rather pointless to buy games new any more at all; I rent them instead. LoveFilm for example charges you £5 per month to have a game disc. I rarely spend more than 8 months straight on a game (which is £40 from the rental company) so it's ALWAYS cheaper for me to rent than to buy. Exceptions are the classics that you want to get out to play with friends every now and then like Rock Band and Halo, then I buy them.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

I think game makers are idiots to think they don't benefit from the used game market. If I sell a couple of games I've completed I can then afford a new game that without the used market I might not have been able to!!

VagrantChrisX
VagrantChrisX

It's an easy fix, stop Mass Producing $60 copies of physical games, the next generation of consoles should have a huge Harddrive with an incentive to get the digital version of the game instead of the physical copy. Imagine new games costing $40, and having the option to get the retail $60 if you choose to. People will certainly jump to get the cheaper version; plus this version will be tied to your account for life. They won't worry about used copies because you can't sell back digital copies back. Also, stop charging so much for DLC, just make a monthly or yearly fee like XBOX Live which guarantees you future DLC's for the copy of the game in your harddrive. This fee will be shared with every company releasing DLC's for their games. It will keep the game fresh and also enable more users to start purchasing more. The company that has the most downloaded DLC's will get a bigger slice of the pie from the Monthly fee, so that will also push companies to think twice before releasing crappy DLC's that are just made for the money. The gamer will win because you pay just 1 fee for all the DLC you could want, the system maker will gain some from the fee and finally the developers will win if they create something truly worthwhile.

wiouds
wiouds

If the game makers are going nickel and dime the buyer then should the buyers not nickel and dime the game makers?

MrMisanthrope
MrMisanthrope

@ caketoo: I hate online passes and all that junk too, but your timeline is backward. Used games were huge last gen; online passes are very specifically a reaction to used game sales, not the other way around.

megakick
megakick

How do they know its going to be a hit? Do companies have a ORACLE? You save a whole 5 dollars when u buy used games from GAMESTOP unless u wait a few months.

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

The reason used games sell is the price (obviously) I'm amazed that company's don't understand that most of us cant justify pay 50+ dollars for a game that we will beat in a week or two.

Znuck_King_Ling
Znuck_King_Ling

It's just the starting price. If they can sell games at 19.99 once they become a hit, why not at least start at 30 bucks? I wait until the used price drops to 30 below, and that only takes time. Every game (Cept Smash Bros Brawl 0_o) Get there eventually. If games didn't take the paycheck of a week of minimum wage work, they would sell plenty. They're getting screwed over because they keep screwing us over.

shadow580
shadow580

@caketoo this is why I often wait for the platinum or GOTY edition. Many games are filled with bugs at launch (ehemm Fallout New Vegas), meaning I'd have to wait a few days, weeks or even months for them to be sorted out (Resistance 3 multiplayer, Brink, GT 5). When a game feels incomplete, it's hard to buy it at launch for full price. Since there is no PSN Store in my country, I cannot use my credit card and have to buy PSN cards for almost twice the amount they carry (talk about a rip off). This basically makes it too expensive for me to buy DLCs, so If I want them, I'll have to wait for the GOTY.

caketoo
caketoo

All the DLC packs and online passes are exactly why pople dont buy brand new games. People dont wanna keep paying 60$ for a game then a month later or even on release day see more content for sale as DLC. New games are incomplete games and incomplete games arent worth the 60$ starting price.

lithus
lithus

its eventually gonna get to the point where people are going to steal online codes and keys for content. Just like keys on PC games, you're gonna see an S-load of console piracy sites pop up offering free key codes and generators. EA is shooting themselves in the foot with this move.