Third Quarter Game Spending On The Rise In New Report

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Third Quarter Game Spending On The Rise In New Report

With a new generation of the console wars about to kick off in earnest and the Xbox One about to emerge—the PlayStation 4 only recently made its own appearance in stores—it could be expected that gamers would curtail spending in the third quarter and build up cash for the fourth quarter. New reports from The NPD Group, however, suggest that that wasn't the case at all. In fact, as compared to the third quarter of 2012, the numbers are actually up, and up substantially.

The NPD Group's numbers showed that consumers actually shelled out 17 percent more on game-related matter in the third quarter of 2013 than its counterpart a year prior. Gamers spent a combined $3.45 billion on game content, with $1.3 billion of that being new physical copies of games. An additional $436 million was spent on used and rental games, but matching this shockingly close was a hefty $1.72 billion spent on digital gaming, including mobile and social gaming.

That's almost parity, really. Physical games of all forms brought in $1.736 billion, and digital gaming brought in $1.72 billion. Let this be lesson enough for anyone who says there's no market in physical gaming, or that it's too tough to get at; there's still quite a bit of money in the field. But that's actually somewhat beside the point. The key point here is that gamers actually spent more money on games in the period leading up to a new generation of consoles than in the same period a year prior. It leads to a few questions, really, like are larger numbers of people planning to delay a console release? The NPD Group doesn't think so, as expressed by analyst Liam Callahan, who expects “the launches of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4 will continue to fuel consumer excitement and spending for games heading into the holiday season.”

That's entirely possible, of course. It's also possible that gamers are stocking up for the winter months on current systems, planning to postpone entrances into the next generation ahead of firmware fixes, hardware shakedown cruises and just the arrival of more games. It seems to be something of a recurring theme on several fronts; with Sony's various mechanical issues and Microsoft's Red Ring of Death still reverberating in gamer consciousnesses, and a still-soft overall economy in play, it may well be that gamers are taking a bit more of a wait-and-see attitude, looking to see if and where the newest consoles will buckle, and what will need repairing before the consoles become more reliable. Gamers may also be looking for discounts and used systems to arrive on the market before making the switch, so the fullest sales may not make themselves seen for some time.

Still, one thing is clear: gamers are hungry for games, and very little will stop the buying of same. A new generation poses many new possibilities, but the old generation isn't out of steam just yet, and likely will produce exciting new developments in its own right for at least the near term future.
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