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Word-of-Mouth Key for Video Game Industry

Online advertising less influential

Word-of-mouth is a major force in the video game industry, according to data from The NPD Group.

The research firm’s “Gaming Device Profiles” series of reports found that 41% of video gamers relied on word-of-mouth to obtain information on games. More than three in 10 learned about video games by playing them in person at a friend or relative’s home. Advertising in magazines and online, along with coupons and social networking sites, were not as influential.

NPD also noted that the Nintendo Wii, credited with appeal to a range of players, is the most widely owned of current-generation consoles, by 32% of all gamers. Further, the Wii is most likely to be owned in addition to another console—42% of PlayStation 3 owners and Xbox 360 owners also had a Wii in their household.

Console gamers bought more than 21 million Wiis in the US in the first half of 2009, according to eMarketer calculations based on The NPD Group figures. That far outpaced sales of the Xbox 360, at 15.8 million, and PlayStation 3, at 8.2 million.

Users of the three current-generation consoles are 56% male and 44% female. Broken down by age, the largest group of players is 2-to-12-year-olds, who make up 24% of the total. One-fifth of gamers are ages 25 to 34, while 17% are 35-to-44-year-olds.

NPD’s “Kids & Cross-Entertainment Behaviors” report found that households with children ages 12 and under account for 45% of all video game industry revenues.

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 53.4 million [kids] ages 12 and under in the U.S., accounting for 17 percent of the population. Yet for many industries, games included, they account for a much larger portion of total sales,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Tweens in particular are a highly involved group of consumers as 75 percent of this age group play video games and 81 percent are on the computer for non-homework related activities.”

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Check out today’s other article, “Mobile Ad Spending to Gain Momentum.”

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