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Exclusive: Survey Examines Lapsed Gamers, Rental Impact

Gamasutra's coverage of analyst firm Frank N. Magid Associates' fascinating survey data continues with a look at recovering the 54% of gamers, largely female, that have since given up gaming, and its stats on just how much the used game and rental markets
Gamasutra's coverage of analyst firm Frank N. Magid Associates' fascinating survey data continues with a look at recovering the 54% of gamers, largely female, that have since given up gaming, and its stats on just how much the used game and rental markets are affecting retail sales. The survey was taken from March 20th through March 28th, 2007 by a division of Magid, and consisted of an online survey of 1,864 people, of whom 1,632 were between the ages of 18 and 64 and 232 were between the ages of 12 and 17. Hooking The Relapsed Gamer Another of the highlights of the comprehensive survey, which was originally presented in a lecture at the MI6 Marketing Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, dealt with Nintendo's ability, as much touted, at bringing not just new gamers, but lapsed gamers into the fold. Magid found that amongst primary Wii gamers, the overwhelming majority, 80 percent, were male gamers, and a combined 72 percent were in the traditional 12-24 age group. Over half - 54 percent - of those that did not currently play console games, the survey found, did play console games in the past. Magid found that those numbers weren't merely casual players, as well, with 72 percent of the lapsed gamers saying they played console games at least weekly, if not more often. The demographic study found that 57 percent of those lapsed gamers were female, with a wide age range -- the majority falling somewhere between ages 25-44, but a healthy number over 45, as well. Magid further found that even amongst those regular gamers, it wasn't a mere fleeting obsession -- more than half, 55 percent, played console games as regularly for more than a year. Looking more closely at the makeup of the lapsed gamers, Magid found that females were much more likely to lapse at a younger age, while males continued to play through their 20s, and that a common reason they quit was simply that they lost interest. 54 percent of lapsed gamers said that they 'got too busy with other things,' be they dating, sports, or work, and another 39 percent got bored with the games they were playing, finding games repetitive and unoriginal. How do you overcome these findings and bring gamers back into the fold? Magid offered that there was a strong need for both new IP and new gameplay styles. The Rental Effect Finally, Magid looked at the market in terms of the effect that rentals and used games had on retail sales. Magid found that 13 percent of the age 12-64 demographic had rented a game within the past year, with male teens over-indexing that group. Males aged 12-17 were the clear majority at 42 percent, but 29 percent of those between 18 and 24, and 23 percent of those aged 25-34 were also at least occasional renters. Amongst those, the vast majority did not go on to eventually buy the rented title, with 49 percent saying they'd bought none of the titles they rented, and another 42 percent saying they'd gone on to buy somewhere between 1-10% of the games they'd first tried via rental. Furthermore, nearly a fifth of those that do buy games, Magid found, buy them used, again with teen and young adult males being the most common group to do so -- a collective 86 percent between ages 12 and 24. Used console games are clearly eating into the sales of new retail games, Magid concluded, with 43 percent of those surveyed saying there were no games they'd intended to buy new but bought used -- that is, they hadn't even considered buying the games new -- and another 34 percent saying only for up to 10 percent of their yearly purchases had they considered buying new.

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