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Used Game Sales Up

7 Jul, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

From January to May, American gamers say they have bought and played more video games than at any other period before, according to a new report from Nielsen, but this may not necessarily be good news for game suppliers.

Used video game purchases are driving the numbers, as well as more play with games consumers already own, according to the report.

“Gamers may be looking to stretch their entertainment dollar further through playing games they own more,” said Michael Flamberg, director of client consulting for Nielsen Games. “The importance of value for them is evident in the findings on used game purchase.”

Those same gamers are also buying a steady flow of DVDs.

“Interestingly, gamers appear to be over-indexing in DVD purchases through the first few months of 2009,” the report read. “They have bought the same amount to slightly more DVDs than last year while overall sales in units have been down by single digits compared to 2008.”

Used game sales were up more than 31% during the period, compared to 2008, with new game sales down 2.8%. “Perhaps prompted by these results, other video game retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart are beginning to experiment with selling used games through kiosks,” the report read.

Younger male gamers, aged 18-24, played as much as 29% more during the first five months of 2009, while younger females, 13-17, played as much as 30% more. Subscriptions to video game rental services are up as well, with 14% of the 2,400 gamers surveyed paying for a service. Forty-two percent of gamers ages 7-54 say they are playing more, or plan to play more, than last year, while 41% say they are playing the same amount. Thirty-five percent say they are spending more on games, or plan to spend more, than last year.

“Primarily, we believe mainstream gamers are playing more of the broadly appealing games (i.e Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and Rock Band) pushing their hours of gameplay up,” Flamberg said. “The social aspects of these games have engaged them. We don’t believe hardcore gamers are driving up the usage averages we’ve observed.”

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