Industry Growth Driven by Acquisition of Free Games and Demos
TORONTO, June 11, 2012 – According to Video Game Acquisition in Canada, the most recent report from leading market research company, The NPD Group, the overall Canadian video game gaming market experienced strong growth for the six months ending February 2012 when compared to previous year’s six-month time period*. Canadian consumers acquired over 77.6 million games for various gaming devices, helping game unit volume and revenue experience increases of 46 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Sales of new physical games experienced a decline of 4 percent, likely driven by a shift in game acquisition via gamers accessing free games and demos. At 79 percent growth vs. the previous six-month time period, downloading and/or accessing a free game/demo is driving much of the volume growth for the industry, and is one of the main reasons that although acquisition volume has increased, revenue volume overall has remained essentially flat.
These same volume drivers of free games drives no revenue in the market while digital game sales only saw a revenue increase of 1 percent. Where the industry has seen the most revenue increases in Canada is within the used video game market, where revenue was up 46 percent, and purchased downloaded add-on content was up 143 percent.
"In the past few years, monetizing the digital gaming market has gone from a general uncertainty to a critical business question in the Canadian marketplace," said Darrel Ryce, Director, Technology and Entertainment, The NPD Group. "Our estimates show that 'free' gaming has increased from about 45 percent of total acquisitions in the six months ending February 2011, to approximately 58 percent in the six months ending February 2012. It is extremely important, therefore, to completely understand how today’s gamers are acquiring games and how these methods are changing in the face of the market evolution."
The NPD Group’s Video Games Acquisition in Canada measures both digital and physical forms of games acquisition activity, volume, awareness and usage of retailers and services, as well as other technology and entertainment activities that could influence game acquisition trends. It is based on online survey responses from close to 4,000 members of NPD’s Online Consumer Panel who reported owning at least one gaming device. The survey was fielded February 14 - 19, 2012, to a representative sample of adults and teenagers, ages 13 - 54.
* Physical format acquisitions include new and used game sales, physical add-ons (including song packs) as well as rentals. Total acquisition dollar value was calculated on reported unit transactions with an assumed price per unit for the various physical and digital game formats captured in the report.