Nearly 90% of respondents who play games via a PC or video game console use one of the three online-capable systems (PC/Mac, PlayStation 2 and Xbox). Of these gamers who use an online-capable system, 60% are playing online, with a significant percentage of both PlayStation 2 and Xbox owners using their PC/Mac to play games online instead of their respective console systems. In addition, roughly 10% of those who said they play online are strictly mobile-based gamers and do not use any of the three online-capable systems.
In 2001, 87% of most frequent computer and video game players said the number one reason they play games is because it’s fun. Games are challenging (72%). Games are an interactive social experience that can be shared with friends and family (42%). Games provide a lot of entertainment value for the money (36%).
Even though a study by the game industry’s Entertainment Software Association says that about 52% of video and computer game players are watching less TV and spending more time on games, giving up things is not so easy for teenagers. 80% of men ages 18 to 34 say they would rather give up their game console for a month than their TV set, according to the study by media company Carat and men’s magazine Maxim.
Revenue from online games will grow threefold to $1.1 bln by 2008, helping the nascent industry corner 10% of the global video game market, according to a new study by The Yankee Group. Falling console prices are a big driver in the shift, Yankee said. Priced at $299 when they launched, console prices are expected to fall to as low as $49 within the next five years. Currently, sales and subscriptions to Web-based games generate $353 million. Online-game advertisements generate between $450 million and $550 million, the research company said.
Online gaming remains a hot and growing sector of the market. The number of gamers who play games online rose from 31% in 2002 to 37% in 2003, and it should reach 43% by the end of 2004, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
Video gaming is now a multi-billion dollar industry, which is expected to achieve double-digit growth and attain $29 billion by 2007. Jupiter Media Matrix?s analysis indicated 187 million gamers in 2002, growing to 235 million gamers by 2007. In Asia, gaming on a PC is the fastest growing segment.
750K players use Xbox Live, each paying $50 a year to be able to play against people elsewhere and download updates. Sony says it has sold 2.4M of its $40 network adapters that enable Playstation online gaming, through broadband or a dial-up connection. By 2008, 40.2M gamers worldwide will be going online with video game consoles, says market research firm DFC Intelligence.
According to a survey by the Entertainment Software Association, two out of every five Americans said they plan to buy a game at some time this year. Total sales totalled $6.9bn last year, up 9% from the previous year and more than double 1995 levels. “Gamers are fast becoming an increasingly diverse group with women and players over 50 making up a larger percentage of gamers than ever before”, the industry group said.
DFC Intelligence recently collected the revenue for 18 public game companies, reporting that they generated $24.21 billion in revenues for home video and PC games in their latest fiscal year. Specifically, Nintendo and Sony generated over $4 billion in revenues, while Microsoft and Electronic Arts generated $2 billion in annual revenues. Ziff Davis Game Group finds that 63% of US households play digital games, and projects that Sony?s Playstation 2 will remain the game console leader in the US next year, with 25.9 million units sold in 2004.
Jay Srivatsa, a senior analyst for research firm iSuppli, said console sales have slowed significantly this year, in contrast with the steady growth that has marked the industry until now. He expects sales to be flat for the year and down as much as 10% in 2005, when the major console makers start laying the foundation for a new generation of consoles.
Sony recently trimmed 2003 sales estimates for its PlayStation 2 console, from 22.5 million to 20 million, while Microsoft has said it’s on track to ship between 14.5 million and 16 million units of its Xbox by mid-2004. Nintendo faces the biggest risk, Srivatsa said. The company has temporarily halted production of its GameCube console to eat up excess inventory and managed to ship a scant 80,000 units during its most recent quarter.
Srivatsa said he expects another round of price cuts before the end of the year, with Xbox and PS2 dropping to $150 and the GameCube somewhere below that.