Nielsen study finds gaming up, prime time television consumption down

As tougher economic times bear down on the global market, and wallets get tighter, consumer spending and consumption habits are bound to change, appropriately reflecting market conditions.  But according to a new Nielsen study, the healthy growth of the video game industry is bucking all the trends and setting out on it’s own path.

The recently published ‘State of the Video Gamer’ report looked at gaming on consoles, PC, and mobile gaming happening in the United States during Q4 of 2008.  The Nielsen study found that gaming, traditionally a realm reserved for younger males, have grown in popularity with females, older players, and diversified groups.  The report also revealed that this new consumers’ play time is cutting into prime time television consumption.

“Gaming, once the domain of kids and a small group of core fans, is now more mainstream than ever.  As the number of platforms continues to expand, we would expect that more people will be drawn to the entertainment video games can offer.  Along with this, the evolution of gaming consoles into multimedia devices has changed consumption habits of traditional media such as TV, movie and Internet content,” said Bradley Raczka, Marketing Manager for Nielsen Games.


Key findings from the study include:

  • The PlayStation 2, while still leading all other consoles in total minutes of usage, continues to have the highest downward trending rate of usage.  Trending data suggests by the end of 2009, the PlayStation 2 will no longer be the most used console in the United States.
  • Females 25 years and older make up the largest block of PC game players, accounting for 46.2 percent of all players and 54.6 percent of all game play minutes in December 2008.
  • More sophisticated consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 attract the more engaged console users, who are less likely to be watching television in Prime Time than users of other consoles.

The Nielsen data was mined from a sample of more the 17,000 US television households and 185,000 US tracked PC’s.

While the Nielsen study is certainly not all encompassing, it does deliver a hefty blow to an already ailing television industry.  With the rise of console complexity and interactivity, this study clearly indicates more and more households are tuning off the tube, and turning on the titles.

So what does this all mean?

The Nielsen study only confirms and strengthens a similar study currently being conducted by NeoEdge and Frank Magid Associates – that in-game advertising is more effective than television advertising.  Depending on which sources you look at, spending on in-game advertising is expected to balloon to somewhere between $732 million to $1.8 billion by 2010.  Which then raises the question – why is IGA Worldwide in trouble and looking for more money, or a buyer?  With more and more info hitting the streets regarding the potential of in-game advertising, I’d expect in-game advertising specialists like IGA Worldwide, Massive, and Double Fusion to be working at maximum capacity.

Download the Nielsen ‘State of the Video Gamer’ report here (PDF).

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3 Responses to “Nielsen study finds gaming up, prime time television consumption down”

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