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Report: Games Growing Beyond Male Demo

20 Apr, 2005 By: John Gaudiosi

Gamers are growing beyond the traditional 8- to 34-year-old male demographic, according to a new biannual benchmark report from Nielsen Entertainment's Interactive Group.

The report, which surveyed 1,500 respondents, found that 39 percent of gamers are female and that nearly 24 percent of all gamers are over the age of 40. Women, Hispanics and African-Americans are underserved and emerging markets for interactive entertainment.

“Women between the ages of 18 and 24 show relatively high entertainment expenditure and time availability, suggesting there are opportunities for publishers to target this consumer,” said Emily Della Maggiora, VP of Nielsen Interactive Entertainment. “African-American and Hispanic gamers appear to be a potentially lucrative (and underserved) consumer target for publishers, as these gamers are spending more money to purchase games and more time to play them, compared to gamers in general.”

Other than now-defunct video game publisher Jaleco, which released Lowrider on PlayStation 2 in November 2003, there have been no video games specifically targeted to the Hispanic gaming audience.

The report found a connection between DVD and game consumption, which can be better exploited in marketing and cross-promotion between publishers and studios.

Caucasians reported spending the most money per month on DVDs, but African-Americans and Hispanics reported spending more money per month on games and mobile services. Across races, males ranked spending money on games second to DVDs and in front of CDs and MP3s.

The use of video games as an entertainment option is directly correlated to overall leisure time availability, the report said. Younger gamers reported the most leisure time and are most likely to play games.

The report found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. households own at least one gaming PC, home console or handheld device. Among those who own a gaming device, 89 percent own a console, 65 percent own a PC and 36 percent own a handheld device. Among those who own a PlayStation 2 (PS2), Xbox or Nintendo GameCube, 8 percent own all three consoles. The report found that, among those who own a console, 57 percent own a PS2, 39 percent own an Xbox and 27 percent own a GameCube.

Among the current consoles, Xbox holds up slightly better than PS2 in retaining consumer loyalty.

In exploring consumer sentiment toward next-generation gaming devices such as Xenon and the PS3, the report found consumer response lukewarm and only minimally heightened by a price drop. Active gamers interested in purchasing one of the next-gen consoles indicate they're more likely to wait after release before purchasing the system.

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