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Key Takeaways:
  • Holiday Season  Strong Demand for the Switch, Call of Duty, Mario.
    • Nintendo Switch is the most in-demand console for the holidays. 53.6% of respondents said they want one for the holidays.
    • Switch owners are asking for more Switch video game titles for the holidays compared to the number of games requested for the PS4 and Xbox One by console owners.
    • Call of Duty is by far the most in-demand game for PS4 and Xbox One for the holidays. Mario and Mario Odyssey are the top selections for those who own the Switch.
  • Video Game Purchase Engagement and Titles Played Per Year Worsen, Again.
    • Video game playing frequency is in-line with seasonality (slight drop in our Oct/Nov survey each year), but recent/expected purchase engagement and the number of titles played per year worsened / show deteriorating trends.
    • The declines in engagement are there for both Xbox One and PS4, though the data is worse for Xbox One. Expectations to buy the next version of each console continued to decline. PS4’s loyalty tracker has held up over-time, but Xbox One customer loyalty has slid.
  • Digital Video Game Purchase Share Declines For First Time In Our Series
    • Digital’s market share of recent top 25 video game purchases fell for the first time in our tracker (earlier in our series it had picked up share and then flattened over the following 4-6 quarters). Digital is composing a lower percentage of respondents’ game purchases compared to prior volumes.
    • Sentiment toward digital downloads is positive on an absolute basis, but has eroded sequentially throughout 2017. A growing reason for why respondents say they are buying via digital less is limited storage capacity on Xbox One and PS4.
  • Amazon Loses Mind Share With Gamers, but 20% off for Prime Members Is Still Attractive.
    • Amazon has lost some market share of video game purchases and mind share in our survey and has lost some share of Switch purchasers throughout 2017. It is still a strong competitor, it has just given back some of the share it had won from GameStop previously.
    • A higher percentage of respondents have access to Prime, but a lower percentage of those who have access are aware they can get 20% off on new games. The 20% off continues to have an impact on GameStop – respondents who have bought games via Amazon Prime’s 20% off suggest it has a net negative impact on purchases through GameStop.
  • GameStop Feedback Offers Some Positives and Some Negatives.
    • GameStop regained some of the mind share over the past year that it had lost to Amazon during the year prior. It remains the top choice for buying games.
    • Engagement data with the GameStop is neutral to positive on an absolute basis but worse y/y – which could be a function of video game purchase engagement worsening in general.
    • GameStop has picked up some mind share for used game purchases (one of its biggest strengths) but has lost some share of respondents’ digital downloads.
    • More GameStop customers are paying via non-GameStop credit card (less via cash).  
  • Nintendo Switch A Hit, and Attach Rates Improve
    • The percentage of respondents who own a Switch is about the same q/q, which is a marked increase over results earlier in the year. Likelihood of purchasing one by non-owners has increased considerably.
    • Attach rates have improved sequentially and demand for new games through the holidays is strong. Respondents are drawn to the portability / mobile capabilities of the Switch.
  • Virtual Reality Traction Stalls
    • Virtual reality traction has been mostly flat over the past year. Sentiment toward VR headsets by respondents who own them is still overwhelmingly positive, but it has worsened over the past year.
    • Among those who don’t currently own a VR headset, likelihood of buying one in the next year has declined sequentially.
  • Streaming Video Game Service Traction Stalls, Respondents Want Better Games
    • The percentage of Xbox owners and PS4 owners who use streaming services within Xbox One or PlayStation stores has decreased over-time and the sentiment that they need to offer better games has increased.