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.