March 19, 2007 Once regarded as frivolous and inconsequential, the game console is fast gaining mainstream media clout and the third generation of consoles has further expanded its penetration into homes with 150 million US citizens now having access to at least one console - more than half (52.4%) of the total U.S. television population. As a medium it is particularly strong among key demographic groups with more than two-thirds (67.7%) of all men 18-34 and 80 percent of men 12-17 years of age. The number of video game consoles in U.S. television households has expanded by 18.5% in just two years, according to a new report. Specific console penetration details have not yet been released.
The increase in both the number and the percentage of U.S. TV households with video game consoles is significant given that the number of total television households has risen 1.6% during the same period.
The report, “The State of the Console,” incorporates extensive data on video game console usage from Nielsen's National People Meter (NPM) sample of television households as well as its quarterly Home Technology Report. It is the first in a series of analytic studies from Nielsen examining trends in the video game industry.
The launch of Nielsen's GamePlay Metrics later this year will, for the first time, deliver metered video game usage and demographic data by game title, genre and platform. It will provide advertisers, agencies, hardware manufacturers and game developers with independent, high-quality, quantitative information for negotiating the buying and selling of in-game and around-game advertising.
Among the key findings of the report:
* The number of connected console households (those subscribing to a service that links their consoles to the Internet) has grown to more than 4.4 million, even before accounting for the connectivity of the PlayStation 3 and Wii platforms.
* Two-thirds of all men in television households between ages 18-34 have access to a video game console in their homes. * During the fourth quarter of 2006, gamers in the top quintile (the top 20% of users based on average use over the quarter) accounted for 74.4% of total console usage. * Between September 18, 2006 and December 31, 2006, 93.8 million persons used a video game console at least once for a minute or more. Moreover, in any given minute of the day, about 1.6 million people in the U.S. are using a video game console.
“The video game console has become a major player in the battle for the living room,” said Jeff Herrmann, Vice President of Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services. “In households across the country, consoles are successfully competing for consumers' time and attention; not simply as gaming platforms, but as multimedia hubs that also can deliver high quality digital movies and IPTV.”
Household Penetration and Usage Continue to Grow
According to Nielsen, by the close of 2006, approximately 148.4 million persons had access to at least one video game console system in their home. That represented more than half (52.4%) of the total U.S. television population. But the levels of penetration were particularly strong among key demographic groups. While more than two-thirds (67.7%) of all men 18-34 had access to a console in their homes, the percentage was dramatically higher (80%) for men 12-17 years of age.
The nation's video gamers were active at the end of last year as well, with Nielsen recording 93.8 million persons (33% of the population) using an in-home video game console at least once for a minute or more. This was especially true for the top 20% of gamers, who averaged 5 hours and 45 minutes of usage per usage day.