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Console gamers still rule, survey finds

By Steve Peterson

Console gamers still rule, survey finds

Mon 14 May 2012 1:53am GMT / 9:53pm EDT / 6:53pm PDT

A survey taken in the USA finds more than half are gamers

The latest survey from Magid Associates looking at gaming trends and attitudes found that while console gaming is still the biggest sector, mobile and social gaming have made big strides, becoming the number 2 and number 3 platforms for gaming. The survey also found that more than half of consumers in every demographic group from 8 to 54 play games. Magid's survey, taken from a nationally representative online sample of 2540 people between the ages of 8 and 64, was collected from March 19 through March 26.

The survey found that 64 percent play video or computer games, and that gaming has become the #2 household entertainment expenditure, behind only the TV/internet bill. The average Internet-using household spends a combined $80 per month on TV and Internet, while spending on gaming averages $20 per month, and movie and TV show purchases average $17.

"The console is still king: Console gaming has more players, money and time spent than any other platform," the report noted. Some 20 percent of U.S. respondents 8-64 said they "can't live without a game console." Among male console gamers between 12 and 24 who play on their console at least once a week, some 60 percent say they can't live without their console, only slightly less than the 62 percent that said they can't live without their PC or laptop.

Mobile and social games have passed PC games, online portals, handheld games and MMOs in popularity. While console games are still the most popular gaming activity, console gamers are getting their gaming fix across multiple platforms.

The survey found that console gaming is poised for small growth in 2012, based on the fact that gamers overall in the survey expect to spend more money on console games than they have in the past year. This is difficult to reconcile with the alarming decline in retail sales, unless you assume that much of the difference will be made up with sales of downloadable content (DLC). Supporting this idea, the survey found that most console gamers are now aware of DLC, and one-third have purchased DLC.

"Tablet users are gravitating towards gaming as the primary use for the device"

Looking at the numbers, the survey found that 50 percent played console games at least once a week, compared to 44 percent for mobile, 37 percent for social (with both mobile and social up from 3 percent in 2010, an amazing rise) and 24 percent for handheld games. Gamers spent 7.2 hours weekly playing console games, followed closely by social gamers with 6.7 hours spent every week.

The survey also looked at tablet gaming, and found that "tablet users are gravitating towards gaming as the primary use for the device." Playing games is now the #2 use for tablets, with only "accessing the internet" ahead of it. Perhaps more importantly, games are the top monetizable content category on tablets. The survey found that the average tablet gamer downloaded 20+ games last year, and 23 percent of tablet gamers are paying for virtual goods, averaging $62 per spender.

Smartphones are also an important gaming platform, with almost half of smartphone users playing games regularly on their devices (43 percent overall; 52 percent for iPhone users, and 42 percent for Android users). As with tablets, games are the top monetizable content on smartphones, with the average smartphone gamer downloading 10+ games last year. Some 14 percent of smartphone gamers are paying for virtual goods, averaging $25 per spender.

Looking at survey numbers is always a useful reality check, especially when the industry in question is changing rapidly. Consumer tastes also change, and it's very important to separate your own personal likes and dislikes from what the marketplace is doing. Survey numbers help point to overall trends in the marketplace, and can be important guides to strategic decisions.

From Recommendations by Taboola


Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 595 0.4
This is a snapshot of a revolution in progress.
Smartphones are heading to ubiquity at phenomenal speed. Soon just about everyone in the developed world will have one with the take-up in the developing world beating all expectations.
Very soon there will be over 2 billion smartphones in people's pockets around the world. If only half of these owners use the devices for gaming it will still be the biggest step change the gaming industry has ever seen.

Posted:4 years ago

There might be a shortage of rare earth metals thus bringing our sophisticated western technology to a halt. Heck, even monetary policy might be the fly in the ointment when taking a view at this predictions/forecasts....

So, it might be a tad. tad too far to say everyone with opposable thumbs can acquire a mobile device and thus herald mobile devices as the way of the future.

Posted:4 years ago


Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,523 3,225 1.3
All this tells me is the markets can and will coexist.

If developers are smart, they'll learn to appeal to the same gamer across multiple devices to create a synergy from one experience to the next.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 14th May 2012 1:50pm

Posted:4 years ago


Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises

515 354 0.7
What this tells me is I am paying TOO MUCH for my tv and internet bill!!

Posted:4 years ago


Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
I'd much rather give away my gaming console than my iPhone.

Posted:4 years ago


James Ingrams Writer

222 95 0.4
The market is too sophisticated for simple surveys like this! (Who funded this survey, by the way?) For example, "social gaming" has gone ahead of "PC gaming", and yet alot of social gaming is played on PC's (laptops, Facebook, etc).

I also think you'd see a very different "chart" if you did it in Europe or Japan! Once again we see how the U.S. market is too insoler and nationalistic, and this is letting more and more European titles to infiltrate the market rather than the other way around.

Posted:4 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,292 456 0.4
I don't quite understand why TV and internet are bundled as one superfigure. I could understand a TV streaming sub being included with TV but not the internet sub. Was that just because a lot of people get cable TV and net from the same company making it too hard to separate?
I always struggle with the jump in logic that if you take 1000 or whatever people and give them a survey, you can then multiply the results by a few hundred thousand to say it is reflected across a nation's tastes. Does it take into account people who spend $60 a week on games but tell anyone trying to take a survey to go away and stop bothering them?

Posted:4 years ago


Bill Burnell Senior Editor for Albatross Revue

5 0 0.0
Dude this survey probably doesn't even take into account those who have and use multiple platforms

Posted:4 years ago


Tony Johns

520 12 0.0
I sometimes wonder if this takes in the possibility of one person owning multiple consoles like the AVGN owns something like 15 different gaming consoles.

(31 if you also count the PONG consoles of the 70s)

Posted:4 years ago


Colin Payne game designer; artist

22 24 1.1

Posted:4 years ago


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