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Interpret: Game Sales Figures Underestimate Audience?

A new report issued by research firm Interpret has used its Gameasure method to claim that reach for video games is far bigger than previously thought, citing Activision's Call Of Duty 3 as having 2 million copies sold, but 9 million players in tot
A new report issued by media research and measurement firm Interpret has claimed that video games reach well beyond reported retail sales figures and are an even more significant medium for key demographic groups, particularly young males, than previously thought. The company’s latest “Gameasure” report uses Activision’s Call of Duty 3 as an example, which sold 2 million units in the U.S. up to February 3rd, 2007 – according to data from The NPD Group. However, says the group, those sales figures tell only half the story, with game rentals, used game sales, 'pass-around,' or lending games to friends, and social game play all add significant numbers of players which should be taken into account. By comparison, Gameasure suggests that the actual reach of Call of Duty 3 when all of those secondary figures are quantified is almost 9 million players. Similarly, Madden NFL 2007 from Electronic Arts is estimated to have been played by 14 million players in total, rather than just the 6 million that bought the game. The report also attempts to quantify the demographic profile of those playing specific titles. Examples given for Halo 2 suggest that 21 percent of all males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four have played the game. Of the 6.8 million who are estimated to have played Guitar Hero II, Gameasure suggests that 56 percent are males ages twelve to thirty-four and 30 percent are females ages twelve to thirty-four. "Retail sales capture only a portion of the total audience playing individual game titles, suggesting current in-game advertising deals, which are primarily tied to these sales figures, under-value the medium”, said Interpret CEO Michael Dowling. "As Gameasure clearly shows, the impact of social game play, rental, used sales and pass-around is not inconsequential and can vary widely by game title/genre, so having a more comprehensive measure of game play activity is crucial for in-game advertising to be seriously considered."

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