We believe that the U.S. videogame industry is poised for several years of strong growth. Sony launched the PS2 several months ago, and Nintendo recently launched the Game Boy Advance. Microsoft and Nintendo are readying their 128-bit consoles, the Xbox and GameCUBE, respectively, for launches this November. However, what do we really know about the gamer, the individual responsible for buying these next generation products? We need to ask several questions: Who is he or she? How often do they really play games? How much do they know about new videogame consoles? Will the gamer play games online? What does the gamer's household look like? What do gamer's preferences tell us about the success or failure of next-generation gaming platforms?
As part of our gaming research, IDC recently completed a report, Trends Today, Insights for Tomorrow, IDC's 2001 Videogame Survey, analyzing survey results from the annual U.S. Videogame Survey. A total of 350 households owning at least one videogame console were contacted via telephone, and the primary gamer (the individual spending the most time playing games on the videogame console) in that household, whether that was the 12-year old or 50-year old, was questioned. This very timely information can and should be utilized as the industry continues to strategize for future growth over the next several years, a market which is expected to reach $21.1 billion by 2003. Importantly, these survey results can help us to better understand the videogamer and utilize this information to analyze and predict future patterns.
Results confirmed several trends that shouldn't be too surprising. With an average age of 21.1 years, the gamer population is about three-quarters male (a good point to use on those who assume that all gamers are male teenagers). The majority of primary gamers across all major platforms - Sony's PlayStation/PS one and PS2, the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 - are male. We believe that three factors are responsible for this male-oriented trend: marketing efforts, game content, and perception.
Gamers are also very devoted to gaming, spending an average of four days per week and 2.3 hours per day playing games. They purchase about 1.4 new games per month. And, the number one way that they find out about new games is through advertising (TV, print and Internet).