by Terence Keegan
How much “game” do game consoles still have?
One in eight video game consumers (13 percent) uses a console system for “non-gaming” activities such as video or music on a daily basis, according to new findings by PwC released ahead of next week’s E3 industry convention.
Especially for gamers who subscribe to online services and/or routinely stream content, PwC says, “It is a practical matter to use their console for non-gaming activities. Their console is already part of their entertainment system and many use it as a replacement for a cable subscription.”
Indeed, 38 percent of so-called “heavy” gamers — those who play games on consoles, PCs, and/or mobile device more than 10 hours per week — use their consoles for “non-gaming” activities for at least 4-5 hours per week.
Among the study’s other findings: The average gamer spends 3.7 hours per week playing games on a console, while spending 2.2 hours per week streaming movies or TV shows via their system. (Compare these findings to Microsoft’s claims in April that its Xbox Live user base now spends more time, in aggregate, consuming video and music than it does playing video games on the Internet-connected console, via The Wall Street Journal.)
PwC’s findings are based on a survey of 570 adult men and women between the ages of 18-59, conducted in 2012, as well as a subsequent survey of 50 teens aged 13-17. The firm also conducted focus groups to gain deeper insight into the underlying reasons for consumers’ gaming behavior and preferences.
The full PwC report, “The evolution of video gaming and content consumption,” is available for download here (free registration required).
With Sony Corp. dropping the price of its entry-level PlayStation 3 console by $50 to $249, U.S. retailers could see a sales boost in both hardware and software. “It is safe to assume that confidence across the entire industry just lifted,” video game retail analyst Jesse Divnich tells Reuters. Some observers speculate that Microsoft might respond with a corresponding price cut to its rival Xbox 360 console (via Gamasutra).
Having introduced video games to its rental kiosks nationwide in mid-June, Redbox announced Thursday that it would begin stocking games in another 5,000 kiosks on Aug. 1.
The expansion will bring games to some 27,000 Redbox kiosks; the company now counts 33,000 kiosks total in 27,000 locations.
Redbox also said that it had surpassed 4 million game rental transactions, after having crossed the 1-million mark in April with its test market of 5,000 machines.
In related news, parent company Coinstar reported Redbox revenue of $363.9 million for the three months ended June 30 — an increase of 34% from the same period in 2010 (via the Los Angeles Times).
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz (registration required), EA’s Frank Gibeau says that the publisher’s online free-to-play games group serves a user base of 17 million worldwide — including markets that the company has never been able to penetrate with packaged media.
When free-to-play services “get to scale,” Gibeau says, they “have huge audiences [and] are very profitable” — as profitable as packaged console titles. Moreover, free-to-play services “are not cannibalizing the main games and they actually reach markets that we’re not currently serving,” Gibeau says. “With ‘Need for Speed World,’ Russia and Brazil are number one and two…I can’t sell packaged goods in those territories. But I’m reaching an audience with ‘Need for Speed’ content.”
As the U.S. Supreme Court nears the end of its annual term, the dispute between the state of California and video game merchants over the sale of violent video games to minors still awaits resolution.
Observers had anticipated that the high court might issue an opinion in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn. case on Thursday, but no decision has come. California is seeking the power to reinstate its 2005 law criminalizing the sale of games that feature a certain level of violence to consumers under age 18. The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) maintains that such video games are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The retailers’ trade group prevailed in two lower-court decisions.
It has been more than seven months since the parties to the Brown case argued their positions before the Supreme Court. The outcome, however, may not be so cut and dry. As USA Today reports, the longer the wait is for resolution, the longer Court opinions generally are; the Court’s nine justices are also more likely to issue multiple concurring and dissenting opinions instead of, say, a single unanimous ruling.
More speculation on the case, which could well be a legal toss-up, at The Hollywood Reporter.
Video game software, consoles and accessories, along with books and magazines, were among the top-performing categories in consumers’ e-commerce spending during the first quarter of 2011, according to comScore.
Spending in each of e-commerce categories grew by at least 13% year-over-year during the quarter, driving a 12% increase in overall U.S. retail e-commerce sales to $38 billion.
comScore attributes the overall sales increase to a 7% rise in the number of buyers and a 9% increase in the number of transactions per buyer, though the research firm notes the quarter saw 4% decline in overall dollars per transaction. The firm is set to reveal more detailed figures from the quarter in a webinar next week.
By Mel Lambert
Greater sharing of information is a top supply chain priority for videogame publishers, distributors, and retailers, with the instant-access nature of emerging digital business models highlighting the industry’s imperative to improve physical product availability as well. Such was the consensus among game industry executives who spoke at the GameSupply conference in Burbank, Calif. on Wednesday.
Saul Berman, Global and American Strategy Consulting Leader with IBM, considered the changing retail model from physical to digital media in his conference keynote. “The game industry may grow,” he said, “but who will get the enhanced revenue stream? The record industry tried to stop the consumer doing what they wanted [with digital media], instead of monetizing the experience. The gaming industry needs to be agile and focus on the experience, interoperability and new revenue models.”
A panel moderated by Bob Lamont, Vice President of North Highland, acknowledged that as videogame revenues have overtaken both music and home video, supply-chain challenges have intensified. “A key to success is the manufacturers’ responsiveness,” noted Kurt Fisher, VP of Operations at THQ. “It is vital that retailers collaborate with the retail chain and actively share information with suppliers,” added Patricia Vessey, director of Merchandising Services at Best Buy.
“Consumers do not like to wait,” said Steve Brown, CEO of Cinram, reaffirming the game industry’s need to transition from physical to digital products. “We also need to reduce waste through demand management and actionable intelligence,” so that costs can be reduced dramatically by shipping products from multiple vendors in shared boxes. “Collaboration,” Brown agreed, “is the key to eliminating waste.”
The third annual GameSupply Summit was co-produced by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA).
The day-long event ended with the presentation of three Video Game Supply Chain Awards by the EMA. Activision received the trade group’s Supply Chain Innovation award, while Sony DADC received an award for Supply Chain Efficiency and printing/merchandising firm Pacific Color Graphics received an award for Green Supply Chain Leadership.
Mel Lambert is principal of Content-Creators.com, a Los Angeles-based consulting service.
In a Feb 8. earnings call, Electronic Arts executives said that the company’s digital business was “growing very rapidly and (is) profitable.” The digital business is now expected to reach at least $750 million in sales next year, up from about $575 million in 2010. By paidContent
MESA is proud to announce an invite only, free meeting of great significance to the service providers to the Video Game industry
Sponsored by AGI Polymatrix and held in association with the Entertainment Merchants Association, MESA will be presenting our first Video Game Sustainability Luncheon — the Greener Gaming Gathering (G3) featuring an exclusive presentation by Darin Dickson, Senior Buyer for Video Game Software at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
In addition there will be a presentation by Cody Sisco, Manager Advisory Services, Business for Social Responsibility as well as a panel of experts on game sustainability issues related to replication, packaging and transportation.
Also, this event will be webcast to registered attendees as well. If you are unable to attend in person but would like to register for the webcast sign up today. Please note that availability is open to the first 50 registrants who select “webcast” on the registration page.
The meeting and luncheon is scheduled for June 1, 2009, 10:30 – 1 pm
Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel & Convention Center
2500 Hollywood Way
Burbank, California 91505 USA
This event is for members and invited guests of our alliance and space is extremely limited. Contact Guy Finley (guy@MESAlliance.org) and RSVP via the website below if you plan to come. In case of cancellation contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register now visit www.gamesupplyacademy.com/green