Used game sales, playing time rise in '09 - Nielsen

Market research firm says 32 percent increase in secondhand software market is helping increase in console hours; new game sales sag 3 percent.

One look at US retail sales over the last three months as reported by The NPD Group, and it's clear that the gaming industry isn't as strong as it was this time last year. One cause for that weakness, of course, is the global economic recession, which has wrecked individuals' discretionary income across the globe. Another primary cause is the tough year-over-year comparison, as this year's wares go up against all-time best-sellers like Grand Theft Auto IV.

Nielsen's "average hours played per week" graph.

Be that as it may, gamers are by no means cutting back on the time they spend in front of their consoles. According to new market research by The Nielsen Company, 42 percent of gamers age 7 to 54 stated that they are playing or plan to play more games than they did last year, with 41 percent saying their gaming habits will go unchanged.

Notably, the prime gaming demographic of males aged 18 to 24 reported a 16 percent to 29 percent increase in time spent playing console and PC games during the first five months of 2009. However, females age 13 to 17 also reported substantially increased gaming time, which rose 12 to 30 percent during each month of 2009. Nielsen noted that this statistic is particularly interesting given that handheld gaming devices--the traditional platform of choice for younger females--were excluded from the study.

Nielsen's "used games ratio" graph.

Nielsen's research also found that 35 percent of its sample say that they are spending more money or plan to spend more money this year on games than they did in 2008, with 39 percent claiming they will maintain their spending levels. The discrepancy in Nielsen's study and NPD's numbers lies in used versus new game sales. Used game sales have spiked nearly 32 percent compared to last year, while new software spending is down almost 3 percent.

Also impacting the new game sales is the rental business, which has seen substantial growth through May. According to Nielsen's research, 14 percent of all gamers subscribed to a game-rental service, such as GameFly, in May, up from about 10.5 percent during the same period a year ago.

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Discussion

127 comments
starduke
starduke

It really comes down to this...is the new game worth it? I have 140+ games that I actually own. Most of those are pc games. My strategy for buying games has always been this... I'll wait until the price goes down and then buy it, even if it takes a few years. If a game is awesome when it first comes out, it'll still be awesome whenever I get it. So, I'll either wait for a price drop, or if it's for my ps2 or my ds, I might get it used. If the game industry losses money in me doing this, then so be it. If I had the money to buy new games, at the original price, I would. It's very rarely that I do. Then it comes down to this... Do I wnt to spend my money on a brand new $30+ or do I want to get a few new, but older games, or a few used games for the same amount. I usually get the older and/or used games. Just recently I got the HitMan trilogy and Star Wars: best of pc. I love game bundles like those. You can get a lot of games for the price of one. Next one I'm getting is the C&C one.

starduke
starduke

The game companies want to much money for their games. Why should I spend $60 dollars for a new game when I can wait a while and buy it used for a few dollars less. Plus, I have an Edge card, which knocks 10% off the price of used games at GameStop. It's not much savings, really, but it adds up. Most of the games I get that are used are for my PS2. I really don't think that buying a used game takes all that much money away from the game industry. They're the ones selling games for $60. If they lose money because I refuse to pay $60 for a game, then so be it. They should lower the price of the game. There've been a few times where I bought a game new and it sucked, and I spent $30+ on it. One thing I hate about Gamestop, though, and why I hardly ever actually trade in a game. You don't get even close to the amount they end up selling the game for when you trade it in. I think that stinks. They could end up selling a game you got $2 for $10. I think that's stupid. They could give you more money and still make a profit in selling the game.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@Rottenwood, Buying used games are not counter productive, youa re just clearly ignorant and live under a rock. You know how the Dev's/Publishers can get a piece of the Used Game pie? They can spend the money and resources, that these groups like GameStop already do, and open up their own store fronts. Once they have their own stores, they can then buy back used games from the consumer and then sell the games themselves, oh and look, they get the money out of the used game market. Now let's face reality. These companies would rather not spend the time and money to open up store fronts to resell their games, instead they rather sit back and do nothing and collect royalties from these other companies who already have spent the time, enegy and resources to make money off the used game industry. But for some reason, you just can't understand this, not sure if you are just "slow". Also, you call these places a flea market, but DO you even know what a flea market is?!?! Because you clearly don't, here let me educate you since no one else has: A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered. It may be indoors, such as in a warehouse or school gymnasium; or it may be outdoors, such as in a field or under a tent. It's funny, I have never seen a GameStop under a tent, gymnasium, or a warehouse.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@klugenbeel "First of all you act like these people selling used games are crooks." Uh, no, I don't. I act like people who deal in the used game market aren't financially supporting the people who develop and publish games. What they do is perfectly legal, it's just counterproductive to the software industry. "Strip Mall/Flea markets? What??? Do you live in a 3rd world country?" Used game stores ARE flea markets. They sell other people's used stuff, just like that old lady does down the street when she sells junk out of her attic on the weekend for the neighborhood to pick over. Just because the store has air conditioning and a credit card swiper doesn't mean it's not a glorified yard sale. @SadPSPAddict I understand WHY people buy used games; they're cheaper. My only concern is that the huge used game market, regardless of the medium, has sapped a ton of money from game creators. This doesn't make you or your brother bad people, but I'm looking big picture.

oskuuu
oskuuu

there r some games that i just have to get as soon as they r released, no matter do they cost 70€'s or more, but also games that i want and r worth of waiting the price to drop

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

@Rottenwood thanks for complaining to gamespot concerning my post which is now deleted. Seems to me you enjoy picking fights you can't win, then crying to moderators because you feel insulted. Go buy a used game and chill out will ya.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

@Rottenwood So what about Ebay?? No pawn shops getting their hands on money there (unless you count Ebay I suppose). I buy and sell on Ebay. Why? Well for example I just today bought a copy of Metroid Prime (DS) for my 5 year old for £3.30 - he is paying for that from his pocket money and the cheapest I could find it new was £10.99 also on Ebay. How is that wrong? Any money I make from selling games always goes back into buying new ones and simple economics says that if I didn't sell my old ones I wouldn't be able to buy as many new ones - and yes I do buy some games new, especially for myself or for my kids birthdays but always try to do my best by them if it is their own money they are spending. I think piracy is a far far bigger drain on game studios getting their money and on that I don't think Ebay are doing nearly enough to stop the problem but that's another issue.

Autolycus
Autolycus

Um I just wait until they are a few years old then decide to play them. Game is just as good 2 years after it comes out.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@Valacan, Uh...you're a little off. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all get a cut on DLC. So it's no different than going to the store, minus the physical media and actually having to go to the store, but the people making the DLC don't get all of the money you spend, the big 3 all take their cut for offering it on their online service.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@Rottenwood, Clearly you never went to business school, like you stated. First of all you act like these people selling used games are crooks. They spent their own hard earned money to buy the game used, and then turn around and sell it back to a new consumer. So you think that, with them doing the leg work of having a store front (rent/taxes), interacting with the consumer should give the Dev/Publisher a cut of the used sale makrtet when the publisher/dev has done nothing and put nothing into the used product and ALREADY made their money when that title was sold as a New copy? Uh excuse me? Get a clue!!! "I wouldn't set foot in one of those strip mall flea markets; I buy on-line. And I think the staff would have better things to do than let me sample games for two hours instead of minding the store." Actually, these companies have store copies of the game for that exact reason, to let you try it in the store. Strip Mall/Flea markets? What??? Do you live in a 3rd world country? Get a grip on reality and stop being ignorant.

feryl06
feryl06

yes, let's help these poor starving companies make money----please spend $60 plus tax to help fund these poor starving devs. :P How about having them be responsible for the games they make. Some games released shouldn't even be released. They go in the category of "What were the devs thinking when making this game?" In this economy, every little savings helps. if you want to buy brand new--that's up to you, but if I can get it cheaper used or something, well, that's where I'm going.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

This is why a really good Multiplayer component is required, as it simply offers replay value, for example, i still play R6 Vegas 1 online and would never even consider selling it (even after 3 years of owning it), as opposed to single player games such as Bioshock, after completing it 3 times, i simply got bored and part-ex'd it, where it would then reside within the 'Used' section. Dont get me wrong, there are a few single player games which i would never consider part-exing (Orange Box / Fallout 3). I guess my point is that in order for a game to become a 'keeper' it simply needs to provide longevity, however this is mainly something only Multiplayer games can provide. In my opinion anyway.

Valacan
Valacan

The great thing about Wiiware and PSN downloads now is that they're priced like used games right off the bat due to the lack of packaging etc required. Plus, all the profits go right to the company that made it, not the store that you bought it in. I think more companies should it that way.

GM-Lucra
GM-Lucra

The problem is that when a game is bought used all the profit goes to the seller such as Gamestop. That means the video game industry is loosing money every time someone buys a used game. Buying the game brand new helps the gaming industry and there are a few games that after being out for months is only 5 to 10 dollars cheaper than when it came out. I would rather buy it new and help the industry instead of being lazy and getting a used copy.

sharkattack82
sharkattack82

Sorry, but I'm not about pay $65 for a video game. I'm not paying more than $35 for a game thanks to Half.com. It only takes a month for $20-$25 price drop in a game. That's too much money. I average about 8 games a year and that would be $520 at that rate. I'm not about to get ripped off like that and careless about the whole "fresh out the package, new car smell" aura. I'll will admit that was me 4 years ago with games as far as buying them new all the time. That's when the games were $55. Cheap gaming is the best gaming and I don't care if it's second hand, all that matters is that it plays. All that hype about having a game on Day 1 is for the kids and game freaks.

Harerazer
Harerazer

I wonder if they ever factor in the fact that alot of games are just crap when they do these studies. I mean, would you pay $60 for a new copy of Bionic Commando or $15 for a used copy of Burnout Paradise (which is also a steal at $25-ish new), just for example? Not to highlight any particular game but there may be 10-15 PS3 games (since I don't own a 360) worth $60. Personally I can barely name 5 but if those games were priced at $40 then the list grows. The definition of "value" will always include the cost (whether in money, effort, sacrifice, etc) of the item in question. If the game is just poor then the monetary cost of it has to be reduced to show equal value.

sevvo73lasvegas
sevvo73lasvegas

That's why I luv Gametag! Their used-prices are lower, and they're always running crazy sales.

ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

Just like all games have to go through Q&A of Microsoft or Sony, they should all go through a graduated pricing system. Why should you pay $60 for a new game, when the value isn't there later. For instance, no multiplayer = drop in $10, game is only 4-5 hours long, drop it another $10, and so on. Just like the pricing being graduated, so should Microsoft's and Sony's royalties. Why should the little guy only make $10 on the sale of a new game, especially when he has to suck up the cost of that new game sitting on his shelves for days-weks-months before it sells, ESPECIALLY if the game SUCKS! Is it really a surprise the used game industry exists? I also agree with what somebody else said about paying $55 for a used game. If it was new, and traded in a week or two later, HELL even the next day, it is still USED. Only getting $25 for trading it in is highway robbery, then another robbery when they sell it for $55! Tragic. A NEWLY released USED game should NEVER be priced more than $40-$45 TOPS! Until the pricing structure of used games is changed, I will continue to buy only the 'sure thing' top tier releases from reputable developers. I no longer take chances with my gaming money. Thanks Ubisoft for continually publishing GREAT games to play. They are BY FAR my favorite publisher, and I hope the NEVER sell out to EA.

cube-gage
cube-gage

I tend to wait for games to get down to £20 or less. I never buy used games. I just dont trust them, and 90% of the time you can get a new copy of the game for the same, a tiny bit more or even less. So its hard to justify. I never trade in my games either, even though once I finish a game I rarely go back to it, but the tiny prices you get on a trade in make it not worth doing. I want to see more games on Platinum/Greatest hits or whatever.

simonsworld
simonsworld

nothing shocking,people are hard up only people oblivious to this is the fat cats at sony,refuseing to lower prices to reclaim alot of there losses,gd job they got some awesome looking titles out this year,without question.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@XeonForce Good points, and I should clarify that I have no problem with people buying used games that are out-of-print, as you stated. Obviously, any money the developer could make from those titles has long passed. @BigBacon87 I believe you have more or less missed the point of this discussion entirely.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

There are times I will buy used, but when it is a $5 difference between new and used I will almost always buy new, simply because I know it profits the middleman less (middlemen are useless fluff IMO). But once a game goes out of print and it doubles in value or something that is when used is just fine for me. The study looks fundamentally flawed in the first place. I wonder how many people didn't understand the difference between handheld gaming and console / PC gaming that responded anyhow? meh, most studies are flawed though.

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

zakkess
zakkess

haha yeah, funcoland was amazing..i remember going there and they had the ps1, n64, and the saturn i think..the last game i remember trying out there was supersmash bros. then they either got bought out or changed the name to gamestop. although the gamestop by my house does business the way funcoland used to..like u can try out the game u want there. :)

thekey
thekey

No shock here. I mean who in there right mind wants to pay $60+ for a game?

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@klugenbeel Starting fights? I merely stated my opinion; it was you who turned the entire discussion into name-calling and personal grudges because of some personal beef you have with me. If you don't like my opinions, don't read them, and we'll get along just fine. As for the rest of your post... "Also for a game to have made it to the Used Games bin, some had to buy it BEFORE hand and the Dev did get their money. Can i say a big fat DUHHHHHHH!!!!" I think we all managed to figure that out. But had the other customer bought a new game instead of the used one, the developer gets two sales instead of one, which is twice the money. I didn't go to no fancy-pants business school, but I think my math is correct. "You just seriously think the world should throw their money away?" That's a rather overdramatic representation of my opinion. All I'm suggesting is that we financially support developers and not pawn shops. Rather than looking at the issue from a point of self-interest, we should look at the larger trends caused by the rapid rise in used games sales. These trends are almost universally negative to the creative end of the industry. "Simple, go to the store and RENT it or try it out in the store." I wouldn't set foot in one of those strip mall flea markets; I buy on-line. And I think the staff would have better things to do than let me sample games for two hours instead of minding the store.

XeonForce
XeonForce

Rottenwood, "Never quite understood the appeal of used games... digging through other people's trash to give all the profit margin to people that had no hand in actually making the games we play. Ironically, pirating software is really no worse than buying used games when it comes to the bottom line of developers and publishers." As an employee of Gamestop and digital download enthusiast, I agree with about half of your comments. Buying a used game for $55 is bad for the consumer and bad for the game developer yes, but they both are punished if the title is resold. klugenbeel said it perfectly, a consumer's favorite games never get sold or given to friends (which also is a lost profit to the developer, omg). Personally I buy used game from developers I dislike. I buy all my Guitar Hero games used because they devalue quick, and I dislike Activision. I also buy used games you can't find new anymore, like GBA games or GC games. On the other hand, I buy new games from developers I like, and I always ask around first, read reviews, and maybe even rent. The same goes for DD's, I spend about $50 a month on PSN. It's all a matter of opinion, but it's safe to say that no matter where you're game comes from, everyone is trying to take you're money. There ARE devious game developers, in which case you should not feel guilty buying used.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Used Game Sales + Rental Services = More Downloadable Games I still feel that the portable market is the best place for full retail DLG's. Consoles can work okay with it, but the storage required for $60 PS3 and Xbox 360 games is ridiculous and so is the amount of time it would take to download on the average internet connection. I know publishers want to move to all-digital because of these types of statistics, but I don't think the U.S. is ready for the move. At least not yet... _

q64silver
q64silver

ebay.co.uk helps me a lot with used (and by the way new) cheap games for 360. i'm not interested to pay for games 50+ euros/each

Dr_McTeabag
Dr_McTeabag

The only reason NEW game sales have slumped is because there are no games worth dropping sixty dollars for this year. Well, there have been some and there will be more, but so far this year has been really weak game wise. So, in my opinion, it's the combination of saving money for good games, and the fact that there have been a lack of good games. I dub this FACT!

Narutofan30
Narutofan30

I just got MGS4, Bad Company, and 007:QoS all used for $51 @ GameStop. Usally I dont mind paying the $60+tax but im not going to pay $60 for inFamous, Prototype, or Ghostbusters when i could just get 3 games for less the price of a new game.

Icehearted
Icehearted

I'll buy it new if the price is reduced, otherwise it takes a big title to get me to spend the full $63 on it. So far only GTA4 and Mass Effect were too tempting to resist, but buying used and reduced price new games have saved me a bundle and created such a backlog that I almost don't have to care what's new now, I've got a ton of other great games to play while I wait for those to come down in price. I guess my point is that if gamers buy up from the vast library of used/reduced priced titles out there then waiting for that new game they want doesn't become such a big deal anymore. Yeah companies suffer, but not all games are created equally and deserve to be sold for over $60 a pop.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@cjasko94, But even if you buy from the Dev/Publisher directly (if they offer it) you still pay the same price you would at a GameStop, Best Buy, ect. They all fall in line of the $60 for 360/PS3 and $50 for Wii/PC. So really all you do is prevent the 3rd party from making a buck or 2 by going direct, but you don't save anything.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@zakkess, Alas how I miss FuncoLand too...that place was BOSS when I was a kid and buying games for my NES and Genesis. I am glad you still remember too! Remember the little Console stations of like 2-3 of each system, oh god it was like a freakin' Arcade. That place used to make bank of me, i would go in...try out like 20 games in 2 or so hours and walk out with 25-50% of those titles. Unfortunetly i think the one by me was used more as a place to sell your games to, rather than people go there to buy the games. It was a sad day when my FuncoLand closed... :(

zakkess
zakkess

yeah my grandpa got little big planet brand new at amazon for like $30 i think..when it first came out

fooboy86
fooboy86

@cjasko94 i completely agree with you but unless you somehow buy it direct from a warehouse or publisher theres no way to avoid those money grabbing(insert insults here)... either way you look at it they make a profit whether you buy a new or old game... were just fighting a lost battle.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@Rottenwood, "But unless you're psychic, how can you know?" Simple, go to the store and RENT it or try it out in the store. I am sure you have such a chip on your shoulder no one is ever nice to you, but when i go into my local GameStop, the managers know me by name and offer to let me try the games out. Drop the chip off your shoulder, be nice to other's for once and maybe the store owners will treat you better, because my GameStop guys know if i like the game i buy it!

zakkess
zakkess

gamestop was better as funcoland..the ones by my house would let you try out the game for a few before you bought it :D

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

@Rottenwood, You have one of the most annoying, pompus opinions I have ever seen. If companies do not make a game worth buying new, and people end up buying it used, thats the dev's own fault. Also for a game to have made it to the Used Games bin, some had to buy it BEFORE hand and the Dev did get their money. Can i say a big fat DUHHHHHHH!!!! They got their money, but the consumer clearly thinks there is no replay value in the game, so they trade it in, and then it is sold as a Used Game...another example of where the Dev should have made sure the game had replay value. Games like Halo, Gears of War, God of War, ect (Blockbuster hit IPs) don't hit the used Bin as often as a lack luster game, because there is a little something called replay value. You just seriously think the world should throw their money away? It's called a competitive market, and if Company A makes a Average Game and Company B makes a phenominal game...Company B is going to thrive, its called a competitive Market Place. God Rottenwood really needs to go back to school and hit up business class. BTW, gamers like YOU ruin the Community Rottenwood, I am just so sick of seeing your pompus opinions and you start fights with people on these forums with your comments that YOU KNOW is going to get a rise of some people. I pity anyone who values what you ever have to say. Get a clue.

NuKkU
NuKkU

man whoever invented Gamestop is a genius :D hes rolling in cash

cjasko94
cjasko94

@fooboy86 Id rather give my money to the publishers, then to game stores... Let alone GameStop...

fooboy86
fooboy86

i thought the retailers bought the game from the publishers and then sell it on at a higher price to make profit? thats how most things work and if so the only places this would be effecting is the shops selling the games! the publishers have made thier money!

cjasko94
cjasko94

I play about 15 hours a week. As for this summer and video games, nothing really great came out.

Nedemis
Nedemis

If devs and publishers want to see a change, they might want to seriously consider dropping the price of a new game back to $50. Games are costing more then they ever have and they're being released with less content then they ever have simply because the over use of DLC. Look at Halo3 for example. Cheapest copy you could get at launch was $60. Add onto that three $10 map packs and I'm now looking at a game that cost me just under $100. Halo2 on the other hand released for $50 and the ensuing map packs only cost $5 a piece coming out to $65 total. I will continue to look for second hand items as long as they're in great condition and I have no qualms what-so-ever with not supporting studios that are simply trying to leach out every single dollar they can.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

@Ravenlore_basic "We pay for those games we think is going to be WORTH our money." But unless you're psychic, how can you know? I figured Infamous would be worth the money; I was wrong. I took a chance on Knights in the Nightmare and it has repaid my investment tenfold. Maybe people have the opposite opinions. I'm sure everyone here has bought a used game that became a favorite, something you would've gladly bought new. But it's too late... the sale is gone, and all the profit went to a crappy pawn shop retail chain or auction site, and the developers got nothing. It's little wonder that publishers are rapidly pushing for digital downloads, DLC, and other formats that will keep the used game market from devouring their earnings.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

wow big news!?? People do not like to pay top dollar when they can pay less!! I only have so much money to spend on games. I still have games to play on my Xbox that I have not beat. All of those games were borrowed from friends. Should we stop all playing by people who did not pay because that is not helping the industry.?? - - - - I did pay for my PS2 games, most of them. only a few were new others were used, and some borrowed. We pay for those games we think is going to be WORTH our money. The games we can't wait to go on sale or to find on E-Bay.

SopranosFan
SopranosFan

I have 64 video games setting in my living room of which approximately 22 are new and the rest used. That means that I have spent at least $1100 on new games. The point being I do my share to support developers but with new games costing $60 I simply can't afford to get every game that comes out. If its a new game I will get my money out of like Resistance or Gears of War I buy new. But if it comes down to getting a decent new game for $60 or a decent used game for $10 I usually pick the used game.

volcomstoner180
volcomstoner180

i hardly even buy used...because places like EB and gamestop pretty much charge full price for used games its ridiculous

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Never quite understood the appeal of used games... digging through other people's trash to give all the profit margin to people that had no hand in actually making the games we play. Ironically, pirating software is really no worse than buying used games when it comes to the bottom line of developers and publishers.