GamesIndustry.biz has an article regarding used game sales which cites Wedbush Morgan Securities Analyst Michael Pachter and data on the used game sales market. He estimates the market at 100 million units per year. This is:
- One third of all games sold in the US
- Accounts for $2 Billion annually
The article goes on to defend game resellers including GameStop saying the trade-in value is low (usually around 20% of the original purchase price), and stating that the company doesn’t push customers to buy used games. It ends by estimating that used game sales stimulate 6% of new game sales.
Ultimately, the retailers make out where publishers and developers don’t see any incremental revenue after the initial purchase price. With Half-Life 2, Valve put a stake in the ground to curb PC game resales since it required an online connection and a registered Steam account to play. Online games such as EverQuest and World of Warcraft have also had single use registration keys for almost a decade, again eliminating the possibility of game resales. GameStop doesn’t resell PC games anymore, and shelf space is shrinking, but online and digitally distributed titles with key systems and account requirements have lower piracy then any other form of entertainment.
While there are many possible solutions for developers and publishers to deal with the resale issue, the industry has been reluctant to upset its major retailers by implementing similar online key registration and account-based content locks for console titles. Hopefully OnLive is a solution, but it may take the industry proposing a resale percentage on titles to get everyone involved and satisfied with the practice.
According to a letter from the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport, in response to the Digital Britain Report, Tiga and ELSPA are getting closer to a tax break for British cultural games. The letter requests evidence on:
“…how the issues the industry currently face can be resolved by the formulation of an incentive with a specifically cultural focus. A cultural tax relief of this kind would be aimed at supporting games of significant cultural value to the UK ensuring that the cultural relevance of games is fully recognised. It would also ensure that UK games companies are supported for creating an identifiably British product using the skills and creative expertise of UK games industry workers. Therefore, what we now require from industry in the way of evidence are specific examples of how a UK culturally based incentive may work in practice, a rationale for supporting culturally British video games and an analysis of how the introduction of such a measure would affect the UK video games market.”
The UK is currently the second most expensive place to create games and a tax credit could bring them closer to closing the gap on production. The issue will be the need for titles to be, “Culturally British video games.” While original IP could very well satisfy that requirement, a title such as The Getaway, although set in London, might not qualify for the tax credit. Since the goal is to create export revenue, the tax relief may be too narrow to help the industry, although it would be a political victory for TIGA and ELSPA in getting something to match the EU cultural credit which is now in effect.
The second annual Funding & Investment Summit for B2C Digital Business will take place on July 17, 2009, in London. The conference is focused on venture capital and funding for digital businesses, with a particular emphasis on digital entertainment companies.
Gamasutra has coverage of a new NPD survey that shows women now make up 28% of the console gaming audience. Other data points include:
Wii has seen a 19% increase in usage over last year
“Heavy” portable game system users saw female usage rise 4%
“Extreme” gamers (play an average of 39 hours per week or more) saw its female population rise4% as well
38% of total gamer time was spent playing online games
16% of game purchases in 2008’s fourth quarter were downloaded digitally
The average number of gamers paying for micro-transactions decreased over 2007.
The 2010 International CEA Call For Speakers is now open. This year’s submission process will be handled through the new CEA Speaker Ready Room management tool.
All submissions must be received by Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 6pm EST.
This year’s topics include:
Home Entertainment & Lifestyle Technologies
- Pay TV’s Days Numbered?
- Defining Internet TV
- 3DTV: Hope or Hype?
- The New User Interface: Who Needs Buttons and Dials?
- TV Displays: How Long Will LCD Stay King?
- Sizing Up the Small Screen
- Streaming Salvation to the Music Industy
- Beyond Point-and-Shoot: A Glimpse into the Future of Digital Imaging!
- Netbooks: Here to Stay or Passing Fancy?
- Taking iLife to the Next Level
eMarketer has a story today about the ethnic breakdown of online users in the US, as well as purchasing power. Hispanics are a fast growing target market with 23 Million Hispanics (more than 50%) online according to the article. Here’s a chart from the article. eMarketer’s newsletter is well worth subscribing to and it’s free.
This actually puts forward the idea that Spanish language versions of online games do have a significant potential market, especially when you include Spanish speakers in Canada and Mexico as well.
The New York Times has an interesting article that gives some statistics about iPhone market data related to games. Since Apple doesn’t tend to release info on game sales or demographics, this is a rare treat.
“Of the 50,000 programs available for the iPhone and iPod Touch through Apple’s App Store, games are the largest category, about 20% of the offerings, according to the mobile analytics and advertising company Mobclix.” This means there are approximately
- 10,000 games available for iPhone and iPod Touch
According to data from Web analytics firm Compete:
- 79% of all iPhone owners have downloaded games
- 31% of smartphone users in general have downloaded games
Other data from the article includes:
- There are currently 40 million iPhone and iPod Touch owners
- 15% of Gameloft’s sales were from iPhone games for Q1 2009
- Gameloft anticipates its sales from the iPhone to top $20 million this year
Since I’m on the GDC Europe Advisory Board, they made a special code for me to give friends a discount on the conference. You can save 100 Euros when you register with “The Sean Code.” Check out the picture for the code.
IndustryGamers posted a report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) that projects the global market for gaming software to be $91.96 billion by 2015. Recently, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted the global gaming market to reach $73.5 billion by 2013.
2010 Panel Picker Submissions Due by Friday, July 1
SXSW is currently in the process of accepting panel programming for SXSW 2010, and now’s the time to submit your innovative topics to shape the future of the merging worlds of the Video Game, Digital Media, Film and Music industries that make up SXSW. The deadline for March 2010 submissions is fast approaching on Friday, July 10, so don’t forget to submit your idea to the 2010 SXSW Panel.