Nearly 13% Of Gamers Spend Less On Games Due To Back Catalog
Gaming 2017
(Last Updated On: May 11, 2017)

38% of gamers plan to spend less on games this year compared to last year. What were the reasons for that? Out of that percentage, 34% of gamers said they plan to spend less on games due to their current catalog of games keeping them busy. This means that out of the totality of gamers who partook in the survey, 12.92% of them spent less on games in 2016 due to their back catalog.

The stat comes from a recent Nielsen Media U.S. Games 360 Report for 2017.

The stat also noted that 30% of the 38% of gamers who plan to spend less on games this year because they only play free games or trials. The remaining 24% said they were waiting on discounts.

This stat actually fits in line with a recent trend we’ve been seeing lately, along with actual buying habits in 2016, which saw the AAA business decline compared to what it did in 2015. It wasn’t just buying trends, though, gamers basically viewed less of 2016’s offerings on Twitch compared to 2015 and earlier titles. They also played 2016’s games less than those that came out in years prior. And the top selling games on Steam in 2016 also proved that 2016 was not a strong year for AAA publishers at all.

We’ll see if 2017 can manage to do better than 2016 when it comes to sales, or if gamers will continue to prefer their back catalog over the AAA offerings. When nearly 13% of gamers have already decided to spend less this year than last year, things may not bode well for AAA companies.

Additionally, the Nielsen report indicated that genre of game and graphics were two of the top contenders to determine whether or not gamers would take interest in a title, with the third factor being the storyline. Surprisingly gameplay mechanics and characters weren’t top on the list, further proving that trying to shoehorn in poorly written characters for diversity’s sake isn’t even a factor amongst gamers when it comes to purchasing habits.

The report also indicated that mobile gaming isn’t going anywhere, and that the puzzle/trivia genre is still the most highly saturated and highly activate when it comes to player engagement and usage.

What’s interesting here is that the typically male-dominated games like the action-shooter genre shows low growth and low clutter, which is fascinating because it’s the complete opposite on the home consoles and PC. They note that world building games and sports show high growth potential but aren’t being pursued as much as the match-3 games and trivia, which is where all the money is. The strategy games also show – according to Nielsen’s stats – that they don’t have as much growth potential but they’re definitely highly cluttered in the market.

So what does all of this data tell us? That essentially that a lot of gamers gave up on 2016 outings to focus on their back catalog, and that the mobile genre where females dominate continues to show a lot of growth potential and high saturation, but ironically games typically geared toward males aren’t being pursued quite as much as they could be, with a lot of room for growth in the racing, sports and world builder genres.

It’s some fascinating stats.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Vrenna

    If gameplay isn’t in the top but graphics, genre and storyline are in the top that means these people should watch movies and not play video-games. I suppose the reason they do the opposite is because games are doing a better job at being movies than movies themselves.

  • Kiryu

    Surprisingly gameplay mechanics and characters weren’t top on the list…

    Those are some funny gamers.

    • First thing that came to mind were people who adored Last of Us despite the enemy AI being trash and the gameplay being kind of weak.

    • EroBotan

      i agree, those are my 1st top list!

      • Kiryu

        Those are the top of any real gamer.

  • Bigfatdane

    Eh its not the back cataloge for me, its the fact that more and more games look just, half finished when they hit the selves and steam servers. For the price companies demand, I expect more than a 5.5 hour romp through a dead space with glitches everywhere.

    • I think the back catalog category is a little misleading, because your description could fit into that category as well: you’re fine with what you have because newer games are trash.

      I fit into the same category, too. A lot of newer games are trash so I don’t buy them. I’m fine with a lot of what I have.

      I think there should have been a bit more nuance to the way the question was phrased or at least more parsing from Nielsen to break down why people were okay with sticking with their back catalog.

  • Migi

    Try platinuming every game you have cause then you’ll have a armada of backlogged games. I do have to say it makes voting with you wallet a lot easier cause you’ll have more time to wait for other games to drop in price.

  • SevTheBear

    I buy fewer games mostly because many of them are not that good. Of course I have also become more picky about my games since many games are buggy and unpolished most of the time at release. I refuse to pay full price for a unfinished product + all the DLC nightmare ain’t helping. Then I rather wait and get at complete deal a year later

    • Bigfatdane

      I’m off the same mindset.

      seven out of ten games I bought last year were turned in less than a week after purchase for being nothing more than glorified betas. Only games I kept were from Japan because they at least didn’t look dead nor did they preached me about the evils of capitalism.

      • SevTheBear

        Indeed. That’s the great thing about games from Japan. They let you think about the content the game present you (Nier). They don’t try to force on you as the HOLY TRUTH. They are ideas and you can disagree with them. Others give you drama or action + sub missions that don’t take themselves to serious (Yakuza series). Western games right now has a habit of taking themselves WAY TO SERIOUS and they love to lecture the player about morals. Unless we talk about Saint’s Row that is. That said, I do still like The Witcher 2 and 3 🙂

  • Mr.Towel

    It’s always better to wait to buy a game. Games are always broken at launch, content is incomplete till DLCs are released, prices are abusive. If you wait a year or so you get the game less broken, less incomplete and dirty cheap.

    What do you do till then? Play your other fucking games. Every gamer has a huge back catalog, you don’t need to play the latest release on launch, just go play the games you already have. Finish them for once.

  • Disqusted

    It helps that most recent games are shit. To me, anyway.

  • The slow growth of the FPS game purchases is most likely thanks to the stagnation and over-saturation of the genre, and we’re only seeing the effects a few years after the fact. I think the most popular FPS games were Overwatch, Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2, but that’s pretty much it. Otherwise, everyone is just playing Counter-Strike.

  • Alistair

    While it may be true, there are other factors like “I won’t buy a game if it censored” the saying: the path to hell is paved by good intentions.

    That is so true by busybodies SJWs ruining the games industry and if those figures continue to rise and another crash comes it won’t be me or gamers that bring it about, but by retared SJWs cunts like Antia and co.

    Remember “we not taking away your games only destroying them”

    • No idea what percentage of people gave up on games due to censorship. But I imagine they fit into the 13% since most people say that they already have a decent back catalog and can afford to give up on newer, censored games.

      • Yeah, as much as I like to advocate for not supporting censorship, I know I’m not a majority voice when it comes to purchasing decisions.

      • Disqusted

        I wonder how many people gave up on games because of all the DLC bullshit.

        • Actually… anecdotally, I would be one of them. I wait for the GOTY editions to release because I would prefer to:
          1) Have a physical copy of the game.
          2) Have all of the content without having to rely on day-one patches or scatter-released DLC.

      • Xilence

        Count me as one of them. The moment I see a game has been censored or has a feminist agenda, it gets dropped like a rock instantly. I don’t condone that, I don’t support that, and quite frankly it always makes the game worse.

        The worst thing I’ve seen so far and Sony fucked up big time by the way was: Uncharted. I was going to buy a PS4 Pro solely for Uncharted then enjoy the console games they have past that. What did they do though? They made Naughty Dog fully feminazi.

        So yeah, not only did they lose out on game sales, they lost out on an entire damn console because of it. I have a PS3. I bought the collector’s edition for UC1 and 2, and I have 3 that came with the console. I’ve replayed these things many times, I’ve loved it everytime. So yeah, you can believe that I am suffering but it’s the choice I had to make.

  • Gorgon

    Can confirm. Unless the game looks extra interesting, it’s beneficial to wait for it to get old enough for Steam sale. Coincidentally, if games were cheaper than 60$ on launch, I’d buy more games day one. I feel publishers are being a bit greedy, especially considering they get much bigger share of the sale with digital distribution rather than retail.

    • Richard

      Agreed. $60 doesn’t sound like a lot, but to some people that is their entertainment budget. Especially now a days when it is hard to trust what is being shown and told to us, both through reviewers and company PR. (Aliens: Colonial Marines, and No Man’s Sky just of the top of my head.)

  • giygas

    It doesn’t help that people have less money to spend in general.