Study: Majority Still Purchase PS3 for Games, Not Blu-ray

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.—A recent study by market researcher NPD Group finds that while sales of PlayStation 3 are escalating after a price drop last month, most new users are still buying it to play games and not to watch Blu-ray movies.

In fact, results from the August study show that the 36 percent of new users who have never watched a Blu-ray movie on their PS3 remains unchanged from a year ago.

While those numbers appear bleak, according to NPD two-thirds of PS3 owners have watched a Blu-ray movie, which is a higher percentage of owners who watched DVDs on the PlayStation 2 at a similar point in its lifecycle.

There also appears to be a marked learning curve with respect to the ways people use their PS3s. Owners who have had their machines for a period of time tend to watch more Blu-ray movies, while newer users watch standard DVDs.

“Newer owners are somewhat more oriented to DVD than Blu-ray,” NPD analyst Russ Crupnick told “The later you get into an adoption cycle, the more you’re not getting the super aficionado. These are people who are tougher to convince about the benefits of Blu-ray and who are sensitive to price.”

Interestingly, purchasers of new PS3 machines responded to questions from NPD in an almost identical fashion as purchasers did a year ago during a similar study: 58 percent said they purchased the machine mostly to play games; 34 percent said it was for enjoying games and Blu-ray movies equally; and 8 percent said they bought it mostly for Blu-ray movies.

NPD speculates that one reason why new users are not increasingly gravitating toward Blu-ray sooner could be that they are less tech-sophisticated than rabid gamers who had to have it as soon as it was available.

“PS3 is now working its way into the households of casual gamers. They might be less enthusiastic about new technology than earlier buyers, however, and NPD believes these new buyers might use the machine even less as a Blu-ray movie player,” said

Another recent study by NPD Group on video gamer buying patterns may in fact shed some light on PS3 usage patterns. It revealed that 40 percent of respondents claimed to have bought a video game on impulse in the past six months.

Impulse purchasers include both men and women equally and are most often aged 13-17 (26 percent) and 35-44 (23 percent). The average impulse buy was $27.19, compared with $42.97 for planned purchases.

At $299, PS3 is not a typical impulse purchase, but it is now $100 less that it was last month, a price reduction that resulted in a 300 percent climb in sales compared with the week before it was discounted.

More information is available at the NPD Group website.