49% of US Internet users who plan to purchase a portable gaming device want a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), according to Parks Associates. PSP is in a good position to challenge the other devices in the portable gaming domain, especially devices from Nintendo, the current market leader. Gameboy Advanced and Gameboy DS, both from Nintendo, scored only a combined 33% among U.S. Internet users with purchase plans for a portable gaming device. Nokia N-Gage lags far behind with only 4% of future planned purchases. PSP’s sleek, sexy design and support for music and video playback bolster its already strong appeal among gamers older than 18.
Video games sales increased 9% YTY in April 2005, NPD group says. Total sales were $342 mln compared to $315 mln in April 2004. Industry sales as a whole were up nearly 21% in April, and in 2005 through April software sales were up 14% and the industry has grown almost 23%.
JupiterResearch says that despite slowing audience growth in the next generation (2% annualized growth in installed base) versus the current generation (8% annualized growth in installed base), game consoles are expected to generate strong revenue growth. The report forecasts that the US console market will grow from $8.7 bln for 2004 to $11.7 bln in 2010.
The total combined PlayStation 3, Xbox 2 & Revolution revenue forecast will rise from $1.1 bln in 2005 to $9.4 bln in 2008, Instat says. Overall, Sony will remain the market leader in the next generation of consoles with its release of the PlayStation3. In-Stat expects both Microsoft and Nintendo to close the gap and release next generation consoles of their own.
New York Times in an article on MMORPG quotes research from Internet Gaming Entertainment, saying that 10 mln people around the world play massively multiplayer online games. Players spend $880 mln annually on virtual goods.
NPD says Q1 2005 sales of video games in the US reached $2.2 bln, a 23% jump YTY. Q1 2005 unit sales reached 63 mln units, an 18% YTY increase. Portable hardware had sales of more than $293 mln, an increase of 162% YTY. Over 1.9 mln units of portable hardware were bought in Q1 2005, growth of 72%.
US sales of video game hardware, software and accessories rose 23% in Q1 2005 to more than $2.2 bln, according to NPD Group. Growth was lead by portable video game hardware, the revenues in the sector went up by 162%. Console games generated more than $1 bln in sales, a 7% growth rate.
The Yankee Group expects advertising in games to rise to $800 mln in 2009 from nearly $120 mln in 2004. $266 mln will come from “advergaming,” when advertisers create a game around a product rather than place their brands within a well-known title. Massive Inc claims video game advertising would top $1 bln in the United States by 2010, and approach $2.5 bln worldwide, The Game Initiative reports.
US video game sales rose 32% in March 2005, NPD Group reported, noting Sony’s top-selling Gran Turismo 4 racing game as well as an improved supply of console hardware. Sony’s new PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld gaming unit sold 620,000 units of hardware in the month and 1.1 mln pieces of software.
New York Times article on advertising in video games estimates the industry revenues – one of the largest players, Entertainment Arts, with $4 bln in sales made roughly $10 mln from advertisers paying for product placements in the computer games.
2004 European games software sales grew to their highest ever – 5.6 bln euros, according to Screen Digest. On the hardware side, well-publicised stock shortages during the peak selling season hit European sales of games console hardware in 2004. Only Microsoft’s Xbox achieved an annual growth, while PS2 and Gamecube both suffered declines. The network games market is growing at over seven times the pace of the traditional, retail based, games market. By the end of 2005, the network games market will constitute 15% of total games software sales in the Western World. Network games include mobile, iDTV, MMOG, casual games and games on demand.
In 2004 the value of the UK leisure software market was 1,217 mln pounds ? an increase of 6% from 2003. The value of the console hardware market dropped from 486 mln pounds in 2003 to 339 mln in 2004 ? a fall of 30%. 320 mln pounds was invested in the UK game development industry in 2004.
Nielsen Entertainment surveyed 1,500 males on their entertainment spending to find that DVDs, games, CDs and digital music files were the most popular purchases. African-Americans and Hispanics spend more money on games each month than Caucasians. 40% of US households have either a gaming console, a PC capable of playing games or a handheld gaming device. 23% of US households have all three. 79% of men and 79% of women above the age of 45 spend most of their time playing alone. Active gamers tend to spend just over 5 hours a week playing alone and 3 hours a week playing with people or online.
According to a report by IDC China and China Game Publishers’ Association, China’s online gaming market revenue reached $297.9 mln in 2004, an increase of 47.9% over the previous year. The year was characterized by a lack of innovative products, forcing both game operators and vendors to seek new avenues for growth as competition increases. IDC expects mainland China’s online gaming market to show steady growth over the next five years with a relatively high compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.7%.
IDC and IGN asked gamers about their gaming and music listening habits. The bulk of respondents reported spending 4-20 hours a week playing video games. 20% said they spent 6-10 hours a week gaming. 35% reported owning between 100 and 299 music CDs. 16% said they owned 300 to 499 CDs. 93% of those who took the survey were male. 83% said that they had music stored on PCs in their household, with 23% saying they had 1,000 or more songs stored on their PCs. 16% used a paid online music service.
Online games revenues in China are forecast to reach $2.0 billion by 2009. China had 28.8 million gamers in 2004 and Niko Partners projects that number to grow to 55.5 million gamers by 2009. Niko Partners projects that the online games market will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 33.8% from $467.8 million in 2004, to $2.0 billion in 2009. By 2009, 91% of console games will be online games.
Approximately 85% of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) gamers are male and 15% are female. About 15% of gamers meet the criteria for Internet addiction as provided by Kimberly Young, a leader researcher in Internet addiction. Using more strict criteria, a minimum of at least 10% of gamers met criteria for Internet addiction. Compared to national studies of Internet addiction, this numbers are somewhat elevated. However, given the sheer number of hours MMORPG gamers spend online (in comparison to the general population), even a 15% addiction rate is somewhat low. To illustrate the point, the college student spends 10 hours on the Internet per week. The average MMORPG gamer (addicted or not) spends 20-25 hours per week just playing MMORPGs, and an additional 10-15 hours per week in other Internet use. In other words, MMORPG players are spending 4x as much time online as non-gamers.
Sales of console and PC software reached a record high $7.3 bln in 2004, a moderate increase over 2003 with sales of $7 bln. 248 mln computer and video games were sold in 2004; this is roughly 8 mln more than the total in 2003. Console software sales reached $5.2 bln (up from $4.9 bln) on 160.7 mln units, portable software sales expanded to a record $1.0 bln (up from $903 mln) on 42.3 mln units, and PC game sales were $1.1 bln (45 mln units), which is down from the $1.2 bln total that PC games posted in 2003. PC market only accounted for 15% of overall game sales. In 2003, total PC game sales represented about 17% of the market.
Over 30% of console gamers purchased action games over other genres and 17.8% purchases sports titles, PC gamers were more likely to buy strategy titles (26.9%), children’s entertainment games (20.3%) and shooter games (16.3%).
The number of online gamers in the Philippines will reach 6.3 mln by 2008. IDC said that online gaming subscriptions in the country will grow 58.4% annually from 2002 until 2007.
In their quarterly report on Q4 2004 Microsoft says XBox enjoys an installed base of approximately 20 mln consoles. 6.3 mln units of Microsoft’s Halo 2 have been sold to XBox owners.
Sales for video game hardware, software and accessories were $9.9 bln in 2004, down 1% from $10 bln a year earlier, according to NPD Group. Video-game sales managed to top US movie box-office receipts, which came in at $9.4 bln for 2004, according to Exhibitor Relations. The decline was due mainly to a 17% decline in hardware sales to $2.4 bln as a result of price cuts. But video-game software sales showed a healthy increase, growing 8% to $6.2 bln. Given that the current generation of video consoles are now nearly 5 years old, many industry observers expected the entire industry to decline in 2004.
Associated Press in an article about new generation of computer games requiring physical exercise notes the current statistics on child obesity in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of boys and 14.5% of girls ages 6 to 11 were obese in 1999 and 2000, the latest years studied. That compares with 4.3% of boys and 3.6% of girls from 1971 to 1974. A sedentary lifestyle was a big contributor to the increase, the CDC said.
Sales of video games have been 11% higher so far in 2004 compared to 2003, according to NPD Group. In 2003 the industry made 47% of its $7 bln in sales during the holiday quarter; in 2004 the holiday sales are expected to represent 50% of total sales, saccording to WR Hambrecht.
Sony still controls the console market, with its PlayStation 2 (PS2) dominating the current generation. Sony shipped its 70 mlnth PS2 console in January 2004. And the original PlayStation console, now dubbed PSOne, continues to chug along. The console celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the shipment of its 100 mlnth unit in May 2004. Sony is attempting to extend the life of its PS2 by releasing a smaller, lighter PS2 console this month. Nintendo’s GameCube has performed solidly over 2004. Sales increased significantly after its worldwide price cut in Q4 of 2003. Nintendo’s challenge will be to continue that momentum through the next few years. Its two competitors have both deeper pockets and stronger technology backgrounds than Nintendo.
Microsoft has successfully launched the Xbox, its most ambitious hardware launch ever, as well as its Live online service. However, it has spent a great deal of money on both efforts, and is reportedly still a very long way from the break-even point. And it has engaged in significant price-cutting to increase shipments, further harming the bottom line. However, Microsoft can afford losses that would stagger most companies, and the company believes that the game console will be an increasingly important part of consumers’ home entertainment options in the future.
The most interesting current topic in game consoles is the next generation of consoles. The next generation allows Microsoft and Nintendo the possibility of cutting into the impressive lead that Sony has built in the previous two generations. We expect Microsoft to be the first to launch a next generation Xbox console in late 2005. Sony is not likely to give Microsoft too much lead-time before launching its PS3 console, which should occur by mid-2006. Nintendo will try to launch its next-generation GameCube 2 console either before, or simultaneously with Sony.
Boys ages 5 to 12 spend more time playing video games than with each of the traditional toy categories, NPD Group found. Toy categories that are being most threatened are action figures, building sets, games, puzzles and cars.
Video game sales rose 35% in the United States in October, analysts said, as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold more than 2 mln units in just five days of release. NPD Group said the sold about 2.1 mln units from its Oct 26 launch through the end of the month, generating retail sales of more than $100 mln.