Market Focus: Video Gamers
Don’t dismiss video game play merely as a rite of adolescence. It represents a booming market that is seeing increases in the number of games available, types of systems and number of people playing. Research shows that most players are between the ages of 18 to 34; however, a recent study by Netherlands-based JuniorSeniorResearch suggests that 51 percent of teens under the age of 15 play video games.
Demographics point to a decidedly male market willing to shell out big bucks in pursuit of its hobby. According to the NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y., total U.S. consumer spending on PC games reached $1.4 billion in 2005. Of this total, online subscriptions to PC games and gaming Web sites were estimated to account for $344 million. Paid, casual gaming sites that offer unlimited video game play of a variety of games, like Pogo.com or RealOne Arcade, reached sales of $52 million in 2005, with about 1 million paid subscribers.
According to research conducted by Ziff Davis Game Group, a division of Ziff Davis Media, the average gamer spends $300 every three months on gaming. Ziff Davis publishes three gaming magazines—Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine and Computer Gaming World—in addition to the online gaming site 1UP.com. Its data shows that the average gamer is male, with a median age of 26 and a household income of $50,500.
“The single biggest investment that a gamer has to make is on the console or gaming PC,” says Rey Ledda, vice president of marketing for Ziff Davis’ Game Group. “The next generation of consoles—Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3—will be priced from an unconfirmed $250 for the Wii, to a rumored $600 for the PS3. Xbox 360 games cost an average of $60 each. PS3 games are expected to cost between $59 and $99 each; Nintendo’s Wii games are expected to cost about $49.99 each.”