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Analyst: 66% of console players still prefer physical games over digital

The majority of players still prefer physical games over digital on console, and Nielsen Games reports that the exact opposite is true for players on PC.

Alissa McAloon, Publisher

June 18, 2018

2 Min Read

Nielsen has published its annual Games 360 report, offering developers some insight into how consumer trends and preferences have shifted in the past year.

The full, free report offers samples of data about everything from the overall perception of VR to esports and mid-generational console updates and is worth flipping through if you’ve got the time. 

One of the more divisive topics in this year’s report involved digital and physical game releases. Nielsen asked players over the age of 13 how much time they spent playing games per week and how much money they would typically spend a month on games, then split those answers according to primary platform and if they preferred digital or physical games. 

Overall, 66 percent of console users preferred physical games, compared to just 29 percent of PC players. Meanwhile, only 34 percent would rather pick up a digital game on console while a whopping 71 of PC users prefer digital copies over physical. 

On both console and PC, players that prefer digital tend to spend more time per week playing games, with digital console players averaging 6.4 hours and digital PC players averaging 7.6 hours. Meanwhile, the opposite is true when looking at spending. People that prefer to buy games physically tend to spend more per month on video games, both on console and on PC.

Later on, the report also offers an interesting breakdown of how money is spent on games and game-related products overall between things like new games, downloadable content, used games, online subscriptions and more. The graph detailing those findings can be found just below while the full report and all the information it has to offer can be downloaded for free on Nielsen’s site.

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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