56% of American Gamers Don't Buy Games

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56% of American Gamers Don't Buy Games

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A new market study has indicated that "swapsies" is the most popular game of 2011.

Although game-sharing isn't a novel concept in any sense, new research conducted by games market research firm Newzoo has shown that games are now more likely to be shared amongst friends and family than to stay with the original user. Consequently, according to Newzoo's report, more than half of the 82 million gamers in the United States don't actually have to spend money on games. Out of all customers who buy games for PC, Mac or Console, 85% say they regularly purchase pre-owned titles.

For a quarter of game-buyers, almost half of their budget goes towards pre-owned titles. In total, the report says, the average American gamer spends 23% of their gaming budget buying pre-owned.

The report then expands on the ballooning DLC market, which is expected to become worth $960 million in US sales alone this year. In total, 12% of the money spent on games in the US goes towards DLC, and Newzoo estimates that American and European gamers combined will spend $1.7 billion on DLC in 2011.

Taken as a whole, this information reads as a primer on why big publishers have developed such a fondness for DLC and online passes in recent years. AAA titles are expensive and it often makes sense for regular gamers to either wait for a new copy to appear in the pre-owned section or just borrow it from a friend - but doing that cuts out any profit for the developers and publishers, unless they add on DLC or see a major boost in early sequel sales. Though many gamers are irritated by "day-one" DLC and the concept of online passes, it's hard to see how publishers can avoid these methods without seeing a marked decrease in their profits.

Source: GameSpot

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And yet people will come here and say that used sales don't cause the publisher any reason to worry...

well I do buy a few games on day one but do buy a few pre-owned games that are quite old. Day one DLC doesn't bug me too much but online passes do. So many games so little money to buy any of them

The thing that always bugs me is people complaining that they don't make enough new IP's but then won't buy new IP games new, they rent them or buy them used.

And 90% of games played are pirates...

Hold on? That doesn't quite add up any more...or ever.

I can actually understand this quite well. Of the millions of people I meet on Playstation Home, many seem like they own the system just for Blu-Ray support, and surfing Playstation Home.

So believe it or not, it makes sense to me.

I'm, happily, not one of those 56%, but it's still interesting to me.

I generally only buy pre-owned if the game is A) Something I'm not extremely interested in that is significantly cheaper, or B) Something that's out of print (mainly PS1/2 games). Other than that, I have bought 7 games this year so far, all of them new (though I suppose a new copy of Yakuza 3 doesn't count for much in the dev's eyes anymore).

Hevva:
Though many gamers are irritated by "day-one" DLC and the concept of online passes, it's hard to see how publishers can avoid these methods without seeing a marked decrease in their profits.

But according to an article posted here on the escapist a couple of weeks ago, these online passes haven't exactly caused a marked increase in their profits either.
I'm curious as to how these figures match up with the same statistics from last gen.

I personally think that the attraction of online passes for companies like EA and Sony is the fact that there are much fewer ps3&360 owners this gen than there were ps2 & xbox owners last gen. Many ps2 owners from last gen didn't get a ps3 or 360. Many of them got Wiis but we don't see these "online pass" games like Battlefield 3 on the wii.

Rather than blaming the consumers for everything maybe it would be more profitable to see why people didn't move on to the current generation: why they have a smaller base to sell these games to.

I never buy used except when a game is out of print. I never pirate, and won't associate with anybody who does. There's nothing more I can do.

OP's statistics are saddening.

So... about 7% of gamers consistently buy new?

..............................................

I don't really have words.

If I HAD the money to spend, I'd buy 'em. But I'm not going to make my brother buy his own copy when I'd be playing it on HIS X-box.

Hevva:
A new market study has indicated that "swapsies" is the most populat game of 2011.

I'll have to take your word for it since I don't know what 'poulat' means

Of course? Why would someone buy new when they can get the same thing for less?

Maybe if game makers didn't charge just shy of a hundred bucks for a six hour diversion they might see more people willing to invest in a new copy.

The customer doesn't owe the publisher or the dev anything. Why should they care about their profit, especially since so many these days seem perfectly happy to screw them?

Yopaz:
And yet people will come here and say that used sales don't cause the publisher any reason to worry...

Of course they don't! After all, used sales are *legitimate* ways in which the developers/publishers don't get money, whereas piracy is bad because it's *illegitimate*. What matters is the principle of the thing, not the, ya know, actual effect being virtually the same damn thing in the end.

/end sarcasm

I have 170+ games on Steam that disagree with this article.

Hey, publishers, if SO MANY PEOPLE aren't buying new, and one of the big reasons is price, perhaps it'd be a good idea to reduce your fucking prices already. You know, like what any other business would do.

Especially you EA, who said that the $60 price was a problem way back in 200-fucking-7, and still have done NOTHING to remedy this despite now having your own store where you can charge whatever you want.

Publishers are so quick to blame so many things for the loss of money, but I would bet that their own broken-ass business model is the biggest reason.

Valve has proven that the less you charge, the more you make. Perhaps you should try that.

Normandyfoxtrot:
The thing that always bugs me is people complaining that they don't make enough new IP's but then won't buy new IP games new, they rent them or buy them used.

Well when the publisher doesn't market them, charges $60, and releases the at the same time as the next big Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed, Halo, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls, and/or Fallout game, can you really blame them for not wanting to risk their money on it?

Would you risk $60 on a game you've never heard of, when instead of it you can buy the sequel to a series you already know you love?

This statistic makes me a sad panda. With numbers like that, it's hard to say that used games aren't causing any trouble to publishers. I'm happy to say I'm in the percentage that buys games new(unless it's either impossible to find new or ridiculously overpriced).

Hopefully having these numbers published will cause some gamers to reevaluate their purchasing habits.

Maybe swapsies wouldn't be so popular if games were so fun that we didn't want to part with them so quickly?

Of course people share them. People also share DVDs, books, and other media without making a second purchase. So what's the big deal?

I bought most of my games used (but those games are also at least 7 years old and it's impossible to find an inexpensive new copy without going to ebay), but when I buy new games, I wait about 8 months and get the new copy from Walmart. They tend to be like 20-30 bucks at that point. Still a brand new copy, just a hell of a lot cheaper XD Problem solved.

However, I did preorder Revelations. I'm a total sucker for that series.

I think it's because of the INSANE PRICES?

Yeah...but...what about books, and movies. They don't whine like this. Or at least as much. I'm really sick of the whole subject.

Irridium:
Hey, publishers, if SO MANY PEOPLE aren't buying new, and one of the big reasons is price, perhaps it'd be a good idea to reduce your fucking prices already. You know, like what any other business would do.

Especially you EA, who said that the $60 price was a problem way back in 200-fucking-7, and still have done NOTHING to remedy this despite now having your own store where you can charge whatever you want.

Publishers are so quick to blame so many things for the loss of money, but I would bet that their own broken-ass business model is the biggest reason.

Valve has proven that the less you charge, the more you make. Perhaps you should try that.

Normandyfoxtrot:
The thing that always bugs me is people complaining that they don't make enough new IP's but then won't buy new IP games new, they rent them or buy them used.

Well when the publisher doesn't market them, charges $60, and releases the at the same time as the next big Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed, Halo, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls, and/or Fallout game, can you really blame them for not wanting to risk their money on it?

Would you risk $60 on a game you've never heard of, when instead of it you can buy the sequel to a series you already know you love?

Which doesn't change the fact that your hardly in any position to bitch about a lack of new IP's why do you think they turn out so many sequels in the first place.

People spend less during times of economic uncertainty. Huh, I never knew.

Loonerinoes:

Yopaz:
And yet people will come here and say that used sales don't cause the publisher any reason to worry...

Of course they don't! After all, used sales are *legitimate* ways in which the developers/publishers don't get money, whereas piracy is bad because it's *illegitimate*. What matters is the principle of the thing, not the, ya know, actual effect being virtually the same damn thing in the end.

/end sarcasm

Used game - 1 copy, can only be one at a time, over many months will be traded five or so times. "lost profit"

Pirated copy - can be copied 1,000,000 times so 1,000,000 people can play at once. "lost profit" - $60,000,000

How in the FUCK are those both equally bad?

And yes, used sales are legal. Used sales are also the ONLY god damn perk consumers get in this industry and market. This is a market where EA can buy out and gut the likes of Westwood and Bullfrog, but keep and continue to profit from their IP's. Where Bethesda can buy the Fallout licence, licence it back to the original owner, and then sue them to get it back. Where publishers can sell all sorts of things to all sorts of people, where they can impose horribly anti-consumer EULA's on their buyers, where they can put in a clause that stops people from suing them no matter what. Where they can just stop refunding games(PC games at least). Where they can set up their own distribution service for their games so they can take 100% of the profits. Where they can treat their customers like complete shit and nobody can do a god damn thing about it.

And used sales are the ONLY thing we get in return.

Honestly, it's amazing at how well Publishers were able to get consumer to hate the only perk they have in this market.

Pretty sure this is a play on stats as well, rather than straight up facts. Consider the source, who's posting it, and the context.

And to the posts above, you're making the assumption that piracy or buying used games = paying customers converting to non-paying customers. MANY people buy things because they're either cheap or take things because they're free that they would otherwise avoid. (In all markets, let alone in economic hardship.)

Irridium:

Pirated copy - can be copied 1,000,000 times so 1,000,000 people can play at once. "lost profit" - $60,000,000

You know, the lost sale doctrine has been so widely discredited, that many jurisdictions will refuse to entertain it in court.

Irridium:
Hey, publishers, if SO MANY PEOPLE aren't buying new, and one of the big reasons is price, perhaps it'd be a good idea to reduce your fucking prices already. You know, like what any other business would do.

Especially you EA, who said that the $60 price was a problem way back in 200-fucking-7, and still have done NOTHING to remedy this despite now having your own store where you can charge whatever you want.

But if they reduce their prices, then the retailers would just reduce the pre-owned even more. Remember in relative terms the cost of buying games has stayed stable or dropped which is a damn sight better then a lot of other forms of entertainment (or even a loaf of bread).

Mcoffey:
The customer doesn't owe the publisher or the dev anything. Why should they care about their profit, especially since so many these days seem perfectly happy to screw them?

Can someone help me out here as my sarcasm detector is broken.

I'd be more likely to buy games new if the best parts weren't cut out right from the beginning to be sold back at a premium. Take Arkham City, for example. There's like six alternate Batsuits in the game. If this were 1998, you'd unlock a new suit every time you finished the game, or possibly after finding them hidden somewhere in game. Point is, they wouldn't be locked behind price gates.

I still bought Arkham City new, because I genuinely believe that great work should be rewarded, but I have to admit, my enthusiasm for modern gaming is waning fast.

Normandyfoxtrot:

Irridium:
Hey, publishers, if SO MANY PEOPLE aren't buying new, and one of the big reasons is price, perhaps it'd be a good idea to reduce your fucking prices already. You know, like what any other business would do.

Especially you EA, who said that the $60 price was a problem way back in 200-fucking-7, and still have done NOTHING to remedy this despite now having your own store where you can charge whatever you want.

Publishers are so quick to blame so many things for the loss of money, but I would bet that their own broken-ass business model is the biggest reason.

Valve has proven that the less you charge, the more you make. Perhaps you should try that.

Normandyfoxtrot:
The thing that always bugs me is people complaining that they don't make enough new IP's but then won't buy new IP games new, they rent them or buy them used.

Well when the publisher doesn't market them, charges $60, and releases the at the same time as the next big Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed, Halo, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls, and/or Fallout game, can you really blame them for not wanting to risk their money on it?

Would you risk $60 on a game you've never heard of, when instead of it you can buy the sequel to a series you already know you love?

Which doesn't change the fact that your hardly in any position to bitch about a lack of new IP's why do you think they turn out so many sequels in the first place.

Because sequels sell better than the original IP. And why do they sell? Because when everyone buys the new IP used, they love it and buy the sequel new.

This industry is so focused on short-term gain they fail to see the long-term affects. Used sales are perfect for building franchises. Used sales do transfer into new sales. It just doesn't happen quickly.

And again, people buy the new IP used because the publisher doesn't market it, charges the same amount as the huge sequels, and releases them at the same time as those sequels. Expecting them to sell well in that environment is just insanity. It's not the consumer's fault that publishers don't market their games, charge a lot of money for them, and release them at a time where the consumer's money will be put towards sequels. It's the publisher's fault for releasing it in such an environment.

Plinglebob:

Mcoffey:
The customer doesn't owe the publisher or the dev anything. Why should they care about their profit, especially since so many these days seem perfectly happy to screw them?

Can someone help me out here as my sarcasm detector is broken.

Why would that be sarcasm? It's a perfectly reasonable statement. And one I heartily agree with.

Irridium:

Normandyfoxtrot:

Irridium:
Hey, publishers, if SO MANY PEOPLE aren't buying new, and one of the big reasons is price, perhaps it'd be a good idea to reduce your fucking prices already. You know, like what any other business would do.

Especially you EA, who said that the $60 price was a problem way back in 200-fucking-7, and still have done NOTHING to remedy this despite now having your own store where you can charge whatever you want.

Publishers are so quick to blame so many things for the loss of money, but I would bet that their own broken-ass business model is the biggest reason.

Valve has proven that the less you charge, the more you make. Perhaps you should try that.

Well when the publisher doesn't market them, charges $60, and releases the at the same time as the next big Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed, Halo, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls, and/or Fallout game, can you really blame them for not wanting to risk their money on it?

Would you risk $60 on a game you've never heard of, when instead of it you can buy the sequel to a series you already know you love?

Which doesn't change the fact that your hardly in any position to bitch about a lack of new IP's why do you think they turn out so many sequels in the first place.

Because sequels sell better than the original IP. And why do they sell? Because when everyone buys the new IP used, they love it and buy the sequel new.

This industry is so focused on short-term gain they fail to see the long-term affects. Used sales are perfect for building franchises. Used sales do transfer into new sales. It just doesn't happen quickly.

And again, people buy the new IP used because the publisher doesn't market it, charges the same amount as the huge sequels, and releases them at the same time as those sequels. Expecting them to sell well in that environment is just insanity. It's not the consumer's fault that publishers don't market their games, charge a lot of money for them, and release them at a time where the consumer's money will be put towards sequels. It's the publisher's fault for releasing it in such an environment.

No company is going to spend 2-4 years and in excess of 200million dollars on on loss leaders, not even one with lobotomized shareholders.

Publishers, I'll buy your ho-hum game new if your prices for new are lower than used prices... Or if you put it in a Steam Sale, whatever works for you.

Yopaz:
And yet people will come here and say that used sales don't cause the publisher any reason to worry...

Not compared to any other industry. Every single industry in the world that sells something that isn't 100% a 'service' has to deal with resales. Why should gaming be any different?

In short: Instead of worrying about it, factor it into your budget (or as Brad Wardell put it: Make games for your CUSTOMERS, not your users, because not all users are customers).

Edit: And just to clarify, I'm an avid PC gamer. The only console i own is an old Xbox (not the 360). All my games are pretty much bought on Steam or some other digital service. I don't purchase pre-owned games, but i respect people that do.

For every game a person swaps between friends there's always the other games that said people involved have bought brand new, you can't just say these people always buy pre-owned or these people always share... Also how do you ask half of 82 million people a question? Survey says: generalization.

This article is fear mongering and look at the comments, its working.

These company's over priced themselves right out of the market and now there blaming there customers for not buying as much as they used too... That's a great business model.

Yopaz:
And yet people will come here and say that used sales don't cause the publisher any reason to worry...

True, but they should stop punishing the consumer for doing the financially smart thing, and instead go after Gamestop and others like them for not sharing the profits on used sales.

I do think Used sales hurt the industry, but I don't think publishers are fighting it the right way. Instead of trying to force players to buy new, they should be finding ways to get money from used sales.

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