Study: Majority of "gamers" don’t buy games

While the video game industry continues to sweep in mountains of money, it’s only collecting that money from about half of the people who consider themselves gamers.

Nascent market research firm Newzoo, which has carved out a niche in analyzing sales of digital distribution, pre-owned titles, and downloadable content in the gaming industry, found that there is a lot of sharing that goes on in the market.

In fact, the group found that only 44% of gamers actually buy them. That minority then hands their games off to friends and family to let them play. Those friends and family members (let’s call them “moochers”) account for 56% of the gaming community.

But even among those 44%, not all of their money is going to the game publishers. In fact, 85% of those who purchase video games said they spend at least some of their gaming budget on pre-owned games. Of course, when a customer goes into a store and buys a used game, even though there’s a retail transaction, the company that made the game gets nothing.

Before anyone feels too much sympathy for the large game studios, though, there’s a way to catch even those who never spend a dime to purchase a game – downloadable content (DLC).

Newzoo predicts 2011 spending on DLC will reach $960 million in the US, and near $1.75 billion worldwide, a substantial chunk of the entire industry revenue.