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Adults Love Video Games!

Published March 23, 2006 in Video Games
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of Sony
Sony Playstation 3 Sony's Playstation 3
Every time I do a report on computer or console video games I wonder if I am targeting the correct market. I personally have been known to get addicted to a computer game here and there-- *cough* Unreal Tournament, Counter Strike, Halo 2 --and admit that I have been upset with myself many a time for wasting too many hours behind a controller or mouse. Heck, at one point I think I pulled in twenty-four hours in a two week period for Counter Strike; or was it Unreal Tournament?

Anywho, based on the latest survey it now looks like it is the adults, not the kids, who are more likely to be found behind a joystick.

Adults are Gamers

According to a report by the Consumer Electronics Association, about one-third of adult gamers spend ten hours or more playing video games per week. Compared to only eleven percent of teens, some have to wonder where we find the time.

58% of homes with consoles consider it their primary game platform
25% of adults used handhelds in the last 6 months
64% of adults play alone
55% of adults play online
5x more teens are playing mmogs than adults especially women
77% of teens used handhelds in the last 6 months
78% of teen males play online games
58% of teen females play online games

The Consumer Electronics Association finds the statistics startling while the people working on PS3 rejoice. According to the report put out by the CEA, adults will purchase 19 million of the next-generation consoles in the first year.

"The fact that adults are racking up more gaming hours than teens is startling, but there are several associated findings that shed light on this," said CEA's Senior Manager, Industry Analysis Steve Koenig. "Interestingly, a greater percentage of 12-14 year olds spend time gaming than older teens ages 15-17. Older teens simply may not have the free time for extra hours of gaming or they could be gaming on wireless handsets since 81 percent of teens own or use a wireless phone."

Through the new study, CEA also investigated gaming platform ownership and behaviors and found the data revealed the PC dominates the adult game market while teens spend more time using game consoles. For households owning a PC and a console, 58 percent consider the console to be their primary gaming platform despite its lower engagement. Additionally, the study showed portable gaming to be decidedly more popular with teens than adults. Only 25 percent of adult gamers who own a portable game device have used it in the past six months compared to 77 percent of teens.

Additional adult vs. teen behavioral differences emerge in the study when online game play is evaluated. The majority (64 percent) of adult gamers either mostly or always play console games by themselves and just over half (55 percent) play online. Conversely, teens are five times as likely to engage in multiplayer gaming with their consoles, especially teenage girls - an unexpected result. Teens also are much more likely to game online, but here males outnumber females - some 78 percent of teen male's game online in a given month compared to 58 percent of teen females.

The survey results also suggest female gamers outnumber male gamers in the 25-34 age category. This result stems from high rates of play of online games, many of which are free of charge (i.e. Yahoo! Games), among female gamers. The 25-34 age group also comprises the largest concentration among overall female gamers (29 percent).

In a promising trend for consumer electronics (CE) retailers, CEA found that some adult gamers purchase additional CE products specifically to enhance their console gaming experience. The most common purchase made by these consumers (one in four) is performance audio-video cables; additional products include displays, furniture and A/V receivers.

"A huge opportunity exists for retailers through the popularity of gaming," Koenig said. "Not only are gamers buying traditional gaming accessories, but they're also buying or at least expressing strong interest in major purchases like audio components, speaker and high-definition displays. This will continue as next-generation game consoles, which capitalize on the eye-popping graphics afforded by HD technology, penetrate the market. We anticipate 19 million of these consoles will be sold in their first year on the market, totaling $8 billion in revenue."

Though I'd hate to admit it, there is a strong possibility that I could be a strong contributor to that revenue. Seriously, a few hundred at least.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of Sony

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