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.