Study: Online Content Can Double Game Sales

Study: Online Content Can Double Game Sales

A new study shows a significant correlation between higher game sales and downloadable content from console storefronts, but game companies may be under-utilizing the opportunity.

Electronic Entertainment Design and Research’s (EEDAR) new study says that games that have corresponding downloadable content can generate income that’s nearly double that of a game with no online content support. Revenues related to such content can not only offset development costs, but also help buoy a publisher’s sales between releases, says the study.

The study doesn’t necessarily refer to paid content such as map expansions or extra levels for a title. A next-gen game’s revenue can jump by 69 percent if a game offers both a demo and a trailer, when compared to games that offer neither.

Xbox 360 games that have downloadable content sell more by 129 percent, while PS3 games sell more by 16 percent, according to EEDAR.

“Our study shows that the marketplace is rapidly evolving into utilizing revenue options beyond retail game sales,” said Geoffrey Zatkin, COO of EEDAR. “In an environment with crippling production costs, publishers have new ways to dramatically impact their financial gain, while making gamers happy, if they understand how to utilize the new generation of console storefronts.”

As part of its study, EEDAR found that Xbox Live Marketplace offers 106.5GB of content, all of which would fit on Xbox 360 Elite’s 120GB hard drive (although it’s far in excess of the popular Premium’s 20GB hard drive), while PS3 offers 19.2 GB.

Wii, however, offers the most downloadable games. Microsoft offers the most original games on its console storefront with 77 percent of its offerings being original titles. Only around 12 percent of all downloadable console games are original. "The PlayStation 3 charges the most for its downloadable content, while Xbox 360 has the largest roster of downloadable content to monetize," the report adds.

EEDAR also provided the following highlights from the study:

Downloadable Games

  • 187 downloadable game titles are available on Console Storefronts; Wii has released 51 percent of these
  • PS3 Prices range from $4.99 to $19.99, Median of $5.99, Average $6.17
  • Wii range from $1.00 – $10.00, Median of $6.00, Average $6.69
  • Xbox 360 range from $5 – $15, Median of $10, Average $7.53
  • 100% of downloadable Wii games are re-releases from previous consoles such as the original Nintendo Entertainment System or Nintendo 64
  • Wii has far exceeded both PS3 and Xbox 360 in providing downloadable games
  • The Wii released 95 titles in its first 7 months
  • The PlayStation 3 released 29 Titles in its first 7 months
  • The Xbox 360 released 21 Titles in its first 7 months
  • 39% of downloadable games are from the Arcade genre, followed by 21% from the Action genre
  • 94% of downloadable Arcade genre games are re-releases from previous systems

 
Downloadable Game Content (Not Including Movies/Music/TV Shows)

  • Seventh Generation games (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) with downloadable demos and trailers have a strong correlation with higher sales
  • On Average, Seventh Generation retail games with both a downloadable demo and trailer generate 69% more revenue than games without either
  • On Average, Seventh Generation retail games with a downloadable demo generate 62% more revenue than games without either a demo or a trailer
  • On Average, Seventh Generation retail games with a downloadable trailer generate 72% more revenue than games without either a demo or a trailer
  • For the new generation of consoles, 94% of available downloadable content is on the Xbox 360; 6% on the available content is on the PlayStation 3.  The Wii does not offer downloadable content
  • The total value of all Xbox 360 downloadable content is worth more than 40 times as much as the total value of all PlayStation 3 downloadable content
  • 80% of the downloadable content on the PlayStation 3 is free; only 29% is free on Xbox 360
  • Average price of downloadable content is between $1.69 (Xbox 360) and $1.97 (PS3)

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