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Subscribe and save? New consumption models for video gamers

Players in China must use their ID card to register to play online games. — © AFP

A new survey of those who regularly play video games found that 7 out of 10 gamers are open to video game subscription services. Additionally, 61% of gamers think subscription services are “the future of gaming.” With subscription models, a clear majority consider them high quality (79%) and good value (73%).

The survey was conducted by Toluna consumer information providerwhich surveyed 2,015 active console and PC gamers aged 16-45 in the UK. This sets the trend of players moving away from ownership as the subscription model becomes more popular.

As for the motivations for this, some gamers are turning to subscription services because they feel they are getting better value that way. Here, 27% of gamers said cost is the key factor in determining whether they keep a video game subscription.

Although PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass are the most well-known and widely used gaming subscriptions, their usage is much lower than subscription services from other entertainment giants such as Netflix. For example, 77% of gamers have used Netflix, but less than a third have used Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus. This means that there are a considerable number untapped market for subscription services.

Many gamers have expressed the view that the subscription model is not just a cost decision, as quality and value are also key. A key factor is defined with three out of four respondents saying they have allowed them to try more games. Additionally, 66% of respondents say subscriptions offer many high-quality games, and 61% say the subscription model is the future of gaming.

For video game companies, news of the likely switch to subscription doesn’t necessarily mean lower profits. While research shows that gamers who use services like Xbox Game Pass are buying fewer games, that doesn’t mean game revenue has gone down. Spending increases further given the substantial cost of the subscription itself, as well as the wider ability to purchase DLC and spend on in-game items from a wider list of played titles .

Currently, barriers to subscription services relate to the number of titles available for this type of service. The main reasons for buying fewer games are the service’s large game library, with more titles and game genres on offer, and new “Day 1” releases of major games.

Another hurdle is for players wanting to own their own copies. While the majority would rather own than rent, 7 out of 10 gamers are open to using a subscription model. Only 3 in 10 said owning games is important to them and they didn’t like the idea of ​​subscribing instead of just owning.

Commenting on the result, Steve Evans, Head of Media and Technology Research, Toluna, says Digital diary“It’s clear from our research that video game subscription models are becoming increasingly popular, even though gamers still prefer to own rather than rent. Players can see the main advantages that game subscription models offer in terms of cost, quality and value for money. This presents the gaming industry with an opportunity to provide an affordable and flexible subscription model to attract and, most importantly, retain paying players over the long term.