DATA: Gaming’s digital transition

IPSOS MediaCT’s Tom Cross reveals some of the latest GameTrack figures to uncover where money is being spent on gaming.

Gaming has been possible in the digital space for many years now but it is only fairly recently that digital formats have become mainstream.

Since GameTrack began in Q4 2011, vast quantities of app games have been downloaded, but given that so many of them are free, legitimate questions were being asked of the format’s potential to monetise. Recently, however, there have been signs of a change. The freemium model, – epitomised by the meteoric rise of Candy Crush Saga – has been a key driver in the total revenue for app games doubling in Europe from 2012 to 2013.

But console remained the key gaming device in 2013. GTA V broke so many sales records that it was difficult to keep up and its success highlights the extent to which a console game can still capture the attention – not just of gamers but the mainstream media too. This, together with the excitement around the release of the latest generation consoles, helped maintain their position.

Much has been written in recent years about the console being under threat from smartphones and tablets. GameTrack shows us the specific demographic overlap between console gamers and mobile gamers. A wider technological trend at the moment (‘the internet of Things’) is about utilising devices that connect with your smartphone. The latest generation consoles can take advantage of this with second screen gaming and companion apps that keep gamers engaged away from the console.

We have also observed the increasing trend for gamers in Europe to download games. Purchases via Steam are a big factor, but people are embracing digital purchasing methods via consoles too. This is positive news for the latest machines which make it easier for gamers to purchase digitally. The transition from physical to digital need not be a painful one in terms of the revenue of the market.

In Europe we know that in 2013 there were
94m gamers, up from 85m in 2012. This increase
was driven by a rise in the number of people playing
app and online games, rather than packaged games.

Tom Cross,IPSOS MediaCT

GameTrack also highlights how gamer time, volume of acquisition and value of spend are split. In Europe (UK, France, Germany and Spain) we know that in 2013 there were 94m gamers, up from 85m in 2012. This increase was driven by a rise in the number of people playing app and online games, rather than packaged games. When looking at the shares of time and value in 2013, it’s clear that packaged over-indexes in terms of value (65 per cent) compared to time (37 per cent). Monetisation of app and online games increased in 2013, but combined they still contribute a larger share of time (63 per cent) than value (35 per cent).

When looking at demographic differences between types of gamers, we see that the online multiplayer gamer sways more male (69 per cent) than female (31 per cent), whereas social gaming is the opposite, with a 40 per cent male, 60 per cent female split. It also tells us that 69 per cent of tablet gamers have kids at home, and that 35 per cent of console gamers are males aged under 25.

Prior to the release of the latest consoles, Sony released an advert celebrating each iteration of the PlayStation from a London flat with the changing skyline as a backdrop. As with the London skyline, the most far-reaching technological changes have happened in the last five years. They haven’t just changed gaming, but also how we watch TV, listen to music, and communicate and share content and ideas. Gaming is well placed to evolve to these changes while protecting revenue.

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