According to Ziff Davis Media's annual "Digital Gaming in America" survey of 1000 randomly selected U.S. households, video gaming has overtaken PC gaming for the first year ever, as 54.5 million households played video games and 52.3 million played PC games. Conducted by Ziff Davis Media's Game Group, publishers of leading titles like Electronic Gaming Monthly, the study reveals a number of surprising shifts in gaming habits and consumer preferences in 2004.
The study lends further credence to the observation that video games are pulling consumers away from television. Twenty-six percent reported that their TV viewing had decreased in the last year, and 20% reported that they expect their TV viewing to decrease in the next year.
"Not only is mobile gaming strongly on the rise, but consumers' interest in media and advertising in general has begun tipping towards digital games and game-related channels," said Dale Strang, Senior Vice President, Game Group. "Gamers generally preferred magazines and websites over television for their gaming interests, citing magazines as providing credible game reviews and a relaxing experience."
One of the leading trends impacting the video game market is mobile gaming, which continues to rise sharply. According to the study, the number of U.S. households playing cell phone games doubled to 16.3 million in 2004 versus 8.1 million a year ago.
Habits of a Portable Gamer
According to the study, nearly 70% of video gamers own a cell phone and 50% of these individuals play games on their mobile devices:
* More than a quarter (27%) of gamers, and fully 42% of core gamers (gamers who bought at least three games in the previous two months, or who bought at least two games but played 15 or more hours per week) are more likely to purchase a portable gaming system within the next year
* 18% purchased games for their cell phones
* Spend 17 minutes per gaming session and 4.4 hours per week
* Spent an average of $19 dollars in the last 60 days on games for their cell phone
* Gamers don't use cell phones to play video games for the following reasons:
o 50% cite screen size, cost and the difficulty of playing games on a small device
o Over 85% of gamers refer to picture quality
o 75% mention improper game controls
More broadly, the 2004 study indicates that a significant proportion of video game purchasing now happens online, with video gamers reporting that they buy about 12% of their games online. Used game sales are even stronger, as nearly 70% of gamers reported buying used games, including 16% through online auctions.
Digital Gaming in America 2004 was conducted by the Strategy Group in conjunction with the Strategy Group, an independent research company. One thousand people were polled, randomly, nationwide from May 2004 through June 2004.