The Gist: People who subscribe to video game rental services are younger, less engaged gamers. In a crowded marketplace, the future of the subscription model is somewhat uncertain.
You might not be a gamer, but it’s easy to understand video game subscription services, or “the Netflix of the video game world.” From old school mail-in services to online digital rentals, for a flat monthly rate, gamers can play a variety of offerings to their hearts’ (or thumbs’) content.
11% use a video game subscription service. 11% out of the US population ages 13+ is no population to scoff at, especially when considering how many different services are competing for gamers’ attention.
What’s most significant to note about this population is age. People who use subscription services for gaming are much more likely to be under the age of 18. They live with parents or a guardian and given that they’re likely still in school, they report a lower income.
Many of the subscription services clock in at under $10 a month, whereas a single game can clock in around $40. With a budget in mind, it makes sense younger video game players are turning to services that can give them a variety of content at a fraction of the price.
That being said, people who use video game subscription services are less engaged with gaming when compared to those who purchase video games. Subscribers are about half as likely as buyers to play daily or monthly.
Overall, subscribers are less engaged in gaming culture than game buyers. They’re less likely to follow sports than video game owners and less likely to play games on their mobile devices.
Given the demographics of video game subscribers, it’s challenging to predict the future of game subscription space. The audience is young and on a budget. Will they turn to purchasing games when they’re older and higher earners? Alternatively, it could indicate less of an interest in gaming overall. Perhaps they rent because as the data shows, they engage with gaming less frequently.
That being said, the game subscription base is about half the size of the game ownership space, and it’s already crowded with competition. It’ll be interesting to see who can vie for the top subscriber base and if subscription-based gaming will take off or drop off as its audience ages.