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Who subscribes to Game Pass, PS Plus and Nintendo Switch Online, and why?

Earlier this year, Ubisoft told us that one in ten people who subscribe to the Ubisoft+ service are completely new to Ubisoft’s games.

The data shows that some gamers partially test out the service or even rent a game they might be interested in before opting out. In October, Ubisoft saw a record number of subscribers believed to have signed up for Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

The company hasn’t shared exact numbers, and they’re unlikely to be significant, but there are indications that subscription has brought in some new customers for Ubisoft, if not necessarily for the games industry in general.

It prompted us to contact Newzoo to see if we could find out a little more about who subscribes to these services, and why.

According to the data company’s Global Gamer Study, the majority of subscribers are in Western markets (North America, Europe and Australasia). They are mainly men (62%) and between 21 and 35 years old (42%).

And it is not surprising that they are gamers. 52% of subscribers consider video games to be their favorite hobby, with 34% spending more than six hours a week on console games, and 32% spending the same amount of time on PC games.

Overall, subscription users were already average PC and console game spenders (spending about $5 to $25 per month on games).

Interestingly, subscription users tend to have a higher income level (43%) compared to non-subscribers (34%). The definition of “higher income” varies by country, but in the US it is anyone who earns more than $100,000 per year.

It suggests that while value and saving money are clearly a big motivator for subscribers, it’s not the biggest reason why most gamers subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, Nintendo Switch Online, and others.

Newzoo even suggests that “the potential cost savings may not be enough to justify the subscription for those with lower income brackets.”

The data shows that “discounts or cost savings compared to purchasing games separately” are no more motivating for low-income gamers (31% cite this as a reason for subscribing) than for high-income gamers (also 31 %). Low-income gamers are those who earn less than $50,000 per year (and this also varies by country).

However, cost savings/discounts are the collective top motivation for low-income gamers, along with “enjoying multiplayer features and online gaming.” This last reason is indeed the second reason to sign up for both middle and upper income players. (Middle-income gamers are those who earn between $50,000 and $100,000).

The main reason for middle- and high-income players when it comes to subscribing to a service is the “convenience of trying out new games instead of buying them individually.” 35% of middle-income players and 38% of high-income players cite convenience as a motivator, compared to 30% of low-income players.

Most popular reason to subscribe, ranked by income level

Motivation for a subscription Low income % Low rank Middle income % Middle grade High income % High rank
The convenience of trying new games without purchasing them separately 30% 2% 35% 1 38% 1
Enjoy multiplayer features and online gaming 31% 1* 33% 2 37% 2

Note: The ranking consists of a total of 10 reasons.

*Attached to “discounts or cost savings” for #1 rank.

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