Market research firm The NPD Group has released a new report on gamers’ spending habits on downloadable content. According to The NPD Group, 28 percent of the U.S. population of men and women ages 13 to 54 have purchased extra video game content in the past three months, with males and teens making up the bulk of the group. The NPD Group clarified to GamesBeat that its research targeted console and PC games, so these figures do not take mobile into account.
Microtransactions and downloadable content are a standard today, both in free-to-play and premium games. They give publishers a way earn money from a game long after its initial release. These items can be small, like cosmetics that change your character’s appearance but don’t affect gameplay, or include new content that rivals the size of full games.
For example, Blizzard’s Overwatch sells random loot boxes that can contain items such as new voice clips or costumes. Two loot boxes cost $2. For bigger purchases, CD Projekt Red offers a major expansion pack for its open world role-playing game The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. This Blood and Wine DLC adds new missions set in a new land. It costs $20.
Some oppose DLC. According to The NPD Group, almost half of those who don’t buy DLC say they are not willing to spend any money on additional content and that it is not worth the extra expense. The research firm also noted that 16 percent on non-DLC buyers believe that extra content should part of the original game’s release.
“Spending on microtransactions and DLC is currently healthy, but game publishers and developers must not lose sight of the importance of looking at areas that will stimulate spending growth without compromising real and perceived value of the content they’re providing,” said Sam Naji, industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a press release sent to GamesBeat.
Despite how much negativity vocal gamers aim toward DLC and microtransactions, The NPD Group notes that 77 percent who purchase additional content claim that they like having the ability to pay to extend their enjoyment of a game. And, to close with a less surprising stat, over half of those who buy DLC say they would purchase more if prices were cheaper.
I’m going to guess that none of them expressed concern that prices were too low.