Online gaming to generate $8 bln by 2008

The online gaming (OLG) market is ready to experience a nearly four-fold revenue revenue increase by 2008. In-Stat/MDR predicts that the total OLG market will grow from just over $1 bln in 2003 to nearly $4 bln by the end of 2008. The revenue growth will be fueled by advertising and the mlns of new players that are expected by 2008. In-Stat/MDR indicates that roughly half of the U.S. population will participate in online games by 2008, with the massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) population peaking by 2005.

The NPD Group took a look at the players, and found that two-thirds of the surveyed 13 to 44-year-olds are using their PC or Mac instead of consoles. The study found that online gamers spent more time playing PC games online than offline (60% compared to 40%), while the opposite was true for connected console gamers. The NPD Group found that males are accounting for a slightly larger portion (53%). May 2004 measurements from Nielsen//NetRatings supported the parity, finding that males accounted for 51% of the 46 mln online gamers.

Videogame market to grow 0% in 2004

Video game sales soared to a record $18.2 bln last year, but the days of strong growth are on pause as players await a new generation of consoles in 2005 and 2006, according to Screen Digest. 2004 sales are expected to be flat compared to 2003, at $18.2 bln. The British video game market, the third-largest in the world behind the United States and Japan, jumped almost 20% to $1.88 bln. The Western European market climbed 21% to $6.4 bln. Global retail sales will rise a further 16% to $21.1 bln by 2007.

26% of gamers cut TV watching, 20% plan to do so

The Ziff Davis Digital Gaming in America survey found that 26% of gamers had cut their TV watching over the last year, and a further 20% expect to do so this year. Television ratings provider Nielsen Media ignited a storm of controversy among network executives last fall when it reported a 7.7% decline in prime-time viewing by men aged 18 to 34. Nielsen cited growing competition from video games and DVDs. Studies have shown that the average game player is 29 years old. The research also found that game players are not just sitting in their living rooms. Half said they play games on their cell phones, for an average of 4.4 hours a week. They also spent an average of $19 in the last 60 days on phone games, the study found.

60% of those who can play online do

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.

80% would rather give up console than TV

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.

Online gaming to generate $1.1 bln by 2008

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.

750K XBox’ers, 2.4M PlayStation owners are gaiming online

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.

Gaming market reaches $24 billion

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.

iSuppli: PC consoles sales to fall

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.

Console market share

Make no mistake about it — Sony is currently the runaway winner in the console wars. Its PlayStation 2 has sold nearly twice as many units in the United States as Microsoft’s and Nintendo’s consoles combined — 18.7 million compared with 5.7 million and 4.4 million. Most observers believe it may be as many as three years before the next round of consoles are released.