Gaming industry experiences boom as recession worsens

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

San Francisco (CA) - The gaming industry has experienced a veritable boom despite the global economic recession. According to Nielsen, the number of hours that gamers claim to be playing has hit an "all time high." In addition, used game sales have increased to "record-breaking totals," while video game rentals have risen exponentially.

"Taken together, these trends point to gamers' continued engagement with the category even as their budgets have come under pressure. Overall, the recession has not abated the trend of increasing gameplay and may have in fact accelerated it as gamers look to get more value out of the games they own," the company explained in a statement.

Nielsen Games

Michael Flamberg, a director at Nielsen, noted that mainstream gamers were playing more "of the broadly appealing games," including Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

"The social aspects of these games have engaged them. We don't believe hardcore gamers are driving up the usage averages we've observed," said Flamberg. "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."

Flamberg added that new game sales were "soft" compared to last year due to unfavorable title comparisons.

"This is a hit driven business and there haven't been as many hits," stated Flamberg. "Awareness of new titles, when prompted with their names, has dipped in 2009 to lows not seen since 2007."