• February 16, 2024
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A study has revealed that 24 per cent of all digital PC games in gamers’ libraries have never been played, while 58 per cent of PC gamers would sell their digital titles if they could. The findings are from Ultra PC Gamer Study conducted by PC gaming hub Ultra.

Ultra, a complete PC gaming hub created by talent from companies like Ubisoft, Playstation and Nintendo, has surveyed 2,000 PC gamers across the USA and UK. The survey revealed a desire for more flexibility in how the gamers purchase, trade, and sell their digital video games. The secondary game marketplace, which gained popularity in playgrounds and workplaces during the CD-ROM era, contrasts with today’s digital landscape, where purchased game licenses are tied to a single account and often cost upwards of US$70.

This cost may explain why 75 per cent of respondents find AAA games too expensive, and only 36 per cent of all digital games are purchased at full price. However, this perspective changes when gamers are given the option to resell their games: 64 per cent of respondents would buy more AAA games at full price if they had the option to resell them later.

The findings highlight how digital games are often neglected by players. Alongside the 24 per cent that go totally unplayed, less than half (44 per cent) of digital PC games are played regularly. Additional insights from the report include data on discoverability, the influence of reviews, preferred storefronts, and attitudes toward earning digital items and money whilst playing.

Ultra co-CEO Nicolas Gilot commented, “Our research has shown that whilst PC gaming is far from broken, there’s clear room for improvement. Ultra has long held the belief that a digital secondary game marketplace can not only tackle the backlogs in gamers’ libraries, but also help developers and publishers sell more games, and unlock new revenue streams and ways to engage their communities. In late 2023 Ultra launched the first ever truly tradable digital video game, showing how the status quo in digital content ownership can be redefined.”

Key findings:

  • Secondary games marketplace: 58 per cent of PC gamers would sell some of the digital games they own. 64 per cent of respondents would buy more AAA titles at full price if they had the option to resell them later. 
  • Regularity of play: Less than half (44 per cent) of the digital PC games in gamers’ libraries are played on a regular basis; almost a quarter (24 per cent) have never been played at all.
  • Price sensitivity: 75 per cent find AAA titles too expensive. 87 per cent said discounts and sales are important in their purchasing decisions, with only 36 per cent of their games bought at full price. 32 per cent are free-to-play, while 32 per cent are discounted or bundled. 
  • Indie game purchases: 75 per cent of respondents buy digital indie games, with 33 per cent liking the lower price point of indie games. Other reasons for indie purchases include creativity (40 per cent) and wanting to try something new (39 per cent). 
  • Indie avoidance: Of those not purchasing indie games, 41 per cent say it’s because they don’t know if they will enjoy them, while 32 per cent don’t have time to play multiple games at once. 
  • Game discoverability: 36 per cent of respondents say it is difficult to find new games to play. 38 per cent look to YouTube to find new games, while 34 per cent rely on their friends. 18 per cent use Steam to find new games, while 13 per cent say they are most likely to discover new games on the Epic Games Store. 
  • PC stores: Steam remains the most popular storefront, beating Epic Games when it comes to preferred features. As for desired features, respondents were most likely to select a single profile connecting all the games, apps and sites they use (35 per cent). 
  • Digital economy: 68 per cent of respondents have bought some form of in-game content and 26 per cent of PC gamers are interested in buying limited edition or unique in-game items.
  • Crypto aversion: Despite there being an interest in earning in-game currency (34 per cent) and real money (33 per cent) whilst playing, only 18 per cent are interested in earning cryptocurrency. Likewise, the third (33 per cent) of respondents interested in earning limited edition items falls to 19 per cent when those items are referred to as NFTs.

Ultra has been championing the return of a secondary games marketplace in digital form since 2017. Josh Journey: Darkness Totems was released as the world’s first tradable digital video game in December 2023, and can be purchased first or second-hand through the Ultra PC Gaming Hub.