The number of hours that gamers play is at an all time high over the past few months, according to a new study from Nielsen.
The Value Gamer: Play and Purchase Behavior in a Recession also shows that gamers have increased their purchase of used games to "record-breaking totals" since Nielsen began tracking used game sales.
"Overall, the uncertain economy has not hurt gameplay and may have accelerated it as gamers look to get more value out of the games they own," The Nielsen Company says.
More interesting, I think, is what type of gamers Nielsen seems to think is driving this increase in play.
"Primarily, we believe mainstream gamers are playing more of the broadly appealing games (i.e Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and Rock Band) pushing their hours of gameplay up," said Michael Flamberg, director of client consulting, Nielsen Games. "The social aspects of these games have engaged them. We don't believe hardcore gamers are driving up the usage averages we've observed. Second, gamers may be looking to stretch their entertainment dollar further through playing games they own more. The importance of value for them is evident in the findings on used game purchase."
Gamers are also making more use of rental services like Gamefly, according to the survey.
The results seem to show that developers need to continue to concentrate on making ways to extend the life of their games if they want to increase sales and lengthen the time a person holds on to a title. New downloadable content, episodes and, of course, strong multiplayer elements all seem to help that.