Gamers still prefer buying used to downloading

NPD finds 78% of core crowd buy second-hand often, 70% regularly go digital

Core gamers have mostly embraced digital distribution, but downloading full titles has yet to eclipse the popularity of second-hand purchases. An NPD survey found 78 percent of core gamers frequently purchase used games, compared to 70 percent who reported buying full digital games regularly.

Despite those majorities, tearing into unblemished shrinkwrap remains the standard. The NPD found 88 percent of respondents saying they regularly buy new physical copies of games at retail.

In the most recently completed holiday quarter, the NPD's core gamers--those who spend at least five hours a week playing traditional genres on a PS3, Xbox 360, PC, or Mac--spent an average of $129 on new physical games, according to the NPD. Neither used sales nor digital purchases of full games came close to that amount, with gamers spending less than half that on the often thriftier options.

The popularity of used and downloadable games may also tie into a bit of belt tightening the NPD Group found in the core crowd. 10 percent more respondents said their spending on games decreased in the past year compared to those who saw their expenditures rise.

"Digital purchasing among core gamers has plenty of room to grow," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan in a statement. "While many core gamers indicate they are purchasing full games and digital add-on content frequently, there are those that stated they have never purchased digital content."

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Latest comments (10)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 7 years ago
I've bought alot of digital download games over the last 4 years on the 360, but the vast majority of those were $5 or less. I have no problems buying digital but unless the cost is significantly cheaper than a physical copy than I will continue buying the physical copy the majority of the time, rather new or used.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd7 years ago
I'd love to see the size and methodology of this survey. Not knowing any of that makes this about as useful as Amazon top sellers lists.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers7 years ago
NPD says the survey was completed by 6,322 individuals ages 9 and older submitting responses to NPD’s online panel.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Radd on 7th March 2013 3:14pm

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters7 years ago
but...Console gamers can't download full games...
Since when? Games on Demand, etc?
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James Verity7 years ago
@Tom Pickard "but...Console gamers can't download full games... Pc gamers can't buy second hand in most cases."

what on earth are you on about... console gamers (360 and PS3) have always been able to buy full games for download, on the PS3 you mainly pay more than disk versions... as for second hand PC games, they have been available for some time, its just you have to know where to buy them...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
As a consumer, collector and yup, actual gamer (too many hours a week to count), the MAJORITY of games I buy are (in this order), pre-owned, GOTY reissues, new games, and lastly, digital (but only for my Vita and 3DS plus what I can get on Steam my crappy laptop can run). So yeah, I sort of fit that demographic in the survey.
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Ben Campbell Graphic Designer / Freelance Games Journalist 7 years ago
Well you can't in the UK, for at LEAST the last 8-9 years. At least not in any major outlets. Maybe in one of the 'mum and dad' (Britification[?] of 'mom and pop') corner stores, possibly, but major retailers, nope.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ben Campbell on 8th March 2013 10:11am

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James Verity7 years ago
@Ben Campbell, I take it you are referring to second hand PC games in the UK... yes you are correct they are not available from major UK retailers, but as I said they are available if you know where to look... indiies, markets, second hand shops, online retailers, ebay, etc.... they do exist...

as for digital, the main reason why it hasn't really taken off with consoles is BIG downloads, and lack of ability to Backup the data the customer paid for... digital has a habit of being there when you buy it but disappearing when you want to recover it... you know the one where someone deleted it from the store and online customers backup server for one reason or another, so nobody can get at it, even those you sold it to in the first place...

Edited 3 times. Last edit by James Verity on 8th March 2013 11:41am

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters7 years ago
You can also buy full games on PSN too, though...

Again, ridiculously expensive, but they are there.
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Matt Ernst Studying Culinary Arts, Hennepin Tech7 years ago
My hypothesis why is probably because consumers want their games to be tangible, actually hold on to the cartridge or disk.
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