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Ultra PC Gamer Research Exposes Continued Struggle with Pricing and Discoverability on PC

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64% of digital PC games purchased at discount or downloaded for free

36% of gamers find it difficult to discover new PC games to play

Ultra, a complete PC gaming hub created by AAA talent from companies like Ubisoft, Playstation and Nintendo, today releases the first findings from its forthcoming report, The Ultra PC Gamer Study. They reveal that 64% of digital PC games are either purchased at a discount or obtained for free with 87% of PC gamers saying discounts are important in their purchasing decisions.

The findings, drawn from an independent survey of 2,000 PC gamers across the United States and United Kingdom, demonstrate the vital importance of indie games to the PC gaming ecosystem. Three-quarters of respondents buy indie PC games while the same proportion (75%) report that AAA games are too expensive. Price sensitivity is far from the only factor working in favor of indie games, with gamers citing creativity (40%) and a desire to support smaller developers (28%) among their motivations for buying them.

The picture is more mixed for alternative game stores with low awareness of platforms beyond Steam and the Epic Games Store. However, the finding that 36% of respondents find it difficult to discover new PC games to play may offer some encouragement to challenger brands. Currently, gamers are most likely to discover games they haven’t heard of before on YouTube (38%) while 94% of gamers consider game reviews in their purchasing decisions.

“These findings show a PC gaming market that’s currently shaped by gamers’ price sensitivity with players having to make careful purchasing decisions this holiday season,” the Co-Chief Executive Officer for Ultra, Nicolas Gilot, said. “This offers invaluable insight for developers, publishers and platforms and shows the scale of the opportunity for indie games and challenger storefronts even in the mature, prosumer PC gaming market, which has been growing and evolving for decades.

“PC gaming has always given players as much freedom as possible; whether that’s through the choice of titles, platforms, hardware, the ability to mod or simply fine-tune the settings of your favorite games. It’s clear that there’s an opportunity to evolve further; which we will discuss in the full release of The Ultra PC Gamer Study, which is to be published in January of 2024.”

Key findings

Purchasing Power: 75% of PC gamers feel AAA PC games are too expensive with 87% saying discounts are important in their purchasing decisions. Therefore, only 36% of digital PC games are purchased at full price while 32% are purchased at a discount or through bundles and 32% are obtained for free. Possibly showing the shifting business model of gaming, 68% of respondents say they buy in-game content such as battle passes.

Indie Game Adoption: There’s a huge potential audience for non-AAA games with 75% of respondents saying they buy digital indie titles. The top reasons for doing so are the creativity of indie games (40%), wanting to try something new (39%), their lower price point (33%) and to support smaller developers (28%).

Indie Uncertainty: Of the minority who don’t buy indie PC games, 41% cite uncertainty of whether they’ll enjoy them, 32% don’t have enough time to play multiple games, 17% prefer franchise releases and 17% feel indie games are difficult to discover.

Store Wars: Steam is unsurprisingly the PC games store that’s most familiar with gamers, followed by Epic Games Store. The best-known challenger stores are GOG (15% awareness) and Humble Store (13%) and resellers such as GamesPlanet (19%) and CDKeys and G2A (both 13%).

Discoverability: 36% of respondents find it difficult to discover new PC games to play. Gamers are most likely to discover games they hadn’t heard of before on YouTube (38%). The next most influential channels are word of mouth (34%) and Steam promotions (18%). Twitch (12%) is significantly more influential than Kick (2%).

Reviews: Remain influential with only 6% of respondents not taking them into account. Customer reviews are most influential (53%) followed by word of mouth (49%). 31% of PC gamers are influenced by reviews from media outlets.

These initial findings have been revealed ahead of Ultra releasing its full PC Gamer Study in January of 2024. To be among the first to know when the full report is released, follow Ultra on X (twitter).

Methodology

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,003 PC gamers in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The research panel had an even gender split (50% male, 49% female, 1% non-binary) and were all aged between 18 and 44. To qualify, gamers had to play PC games at least once a week, with 51% of respondents saying they play daily. The research fieldwork took place between October 13 to 16, 2023. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by MRS code.

Gaming

Application Start for Gamecity Hamburg Prototype Funding on March 7 – 400,000 Euros for Games from Hamburg and New Diversity Checklist

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“In the context of paused federal funding, we are pleased to reliably support game developers in Hamburg once again with up to 400,000 euros with the Prototype Funding 2024. In this funding round, we’re adding a diversity checklist to our application documents to encourage our applicants to examine their own structures and processes while developing. Games are the leading medium of our time and can showcase diverse voices, perspectives, and stories,” comments Dennis Schoubye, Head of Gamecity Hamburg.

Starting this year, answering the diversity checklist is mandatory when applying for Prototype Funding. Applicants’ answers can optionally be used by the awarding committee when evaluating projects. Applicants whose team and/or project enriches the diversity of Hamburg’s games landscape can receive a bonus in the evaluation by the awarding committee. On the contrary, applicants are not disadvantaged in the evaluation process if that is not the case for their team and/or project. The awarding committee consists of Nina Müller (Head of Publishing, Goodgame Studios), Jonas Hüsges (Publishing Director, Daedalic Entertainment), Valentina Birke (Director, Indie Arena Booth), Jens Unrau (Head of the Media and Digital Economy Department of the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media) and Dennis Schoubye (Head of Gamecity Hamburg). They will decide on the granted funding after the end of the application phase on the basis of the submitted projects and a subsequent pitch by the applicants.

The Application Process

Eligible to apply for Prototype Funding are: 

  • developers and developer groups
  • or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 
  • who are based in Hamburg
  • or which relocate their registered office to Hamburg
  • or open a branch office/business location in Hamburg

 A consultation with Gamecity Hamburg is mandatory and is recommended at least two weeks before the submission deadline on April 8, to prepare applicants optimally for their submission. Interested parties please contact [email protected] to arrange an appointment.

Projects funded through the Prototype Funding program

Since the start of the first funding round in 2020, the Prototype Funding has so far supported 26 games projects with more than 1,450,000 euros. Among the funding recipients are, for example, the indie studio Tiny Roar, which received prototype funding in 2022 for its dreamlike world-builder game “Wanderful”. The serious game “Mambio” by neurodactics, an educational game to make arithmetic understandable for primary school children, received the Prototype Funding in 2021 and was able to secure over 1,100,000 million euros in additional federal computer games funding in 2022. The virtual reality game “Crumbling”, in which your own controller becomes an action figure, was part of the first prototype funding round as well and found a strong partner alongside investors in Meta. Crumbling celebrated its successful release in February 2024.

Further funding programs for Hamburg games industry by Gamecity Hamburg

Every year, the Games Lift Incubator supports five teams, developers and start-ups in the development of digital games and projects. In addition to 15,000 euros in start-up funding, the recipients receive a comprehensive coaching and mentoring program featuring international experts as well as workshops and subsequent individual support. The application phase for this year’s Games Lift runs from May 2 to June 10, 2024.

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Gaming

The 2024 BAFTA Games Nominations Host and Panel have been announced!

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BAFTA’s team of panellists will announce and discuss the nominations live, give their opinions on the outstanding games we’ve seen from the industry in 2023 and recognise the creative talent who made them.

Lucy James said: “I’m so excited to be returning to host the BAFTA Games Awards nominations stream for the 2024 Games Awards. BAFTA’s commitment to uplifting and celebrating the people who make the games we love is an incredibly important endeavour: now more than ever. 2023 will go down in history as one of the greatest years for video game releases ever, but also for being one of the worst for the industry. Sadly, 2024 looks to be continuing this trend with multiple project cancellations, studio closures, and mass layoffs. It’s important for us to take a moment to band together to recognise the contributions and achievements of our hard-working and talented peers.”

Luke Hebblethwaite, Head of Games at BAFTA, said: “We’re hugely excited to be revealing the nominees for this year’s BAFTA Games Awards and couldn’t be happier than to have five such energetic and knowledgeable voices to lead us through the big moment. I’m looking forward to their lively and insightful reactions and a great conversation as we celebrate the amazing talent, creativity and hard work behind the best games of the year.”

The world’s most prestigious annual celebration of excellence and creative achievement in games, the 20th BAFTA Games Awards, will take place on Thursday 11 April at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London and will be livestreamed on BAFTA’s YouTube, Twitch and X channels at 19.00 BST / 14.00 ET / 11.00 PT.

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Gaming

S Gaming Launches The Emerald Road Game

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S Gaming has launched The Emerald Road, an exhilarating new gaming experience set to captivate players worldwide. The game was launched exclusively on Entain’s platform on March 1, expanding to the wider public two weeks later.

This exclusive partnership marks an exciting opportunity for Entain, to offer its players a unique and immersive gaming experience. The Emerald Road game combines captivating gameplay, with stunning visuals and innovative mechanics, promising an unforgettable journey through a fantastical world filled with adventure, mystery and leprechauns.

During the two-week exclusive period, Entain players will have the opportunity to be among the first to experience The Emerald Road’s captivating gameplay and discover its secrets. After the exclusive period, the game will be available for general release, allowing even more players to embark on this epic journey.

Charles Mott, CEO of S Gaming, said: “We are committed to offering our players the best and most innovative gaming experiences available. The Emerald Road is a perfect fit for Entain, and we are excited to give them an exclusive game launch before we expand it to the wider public in two weeks.”

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