Nielsen Games has released its annual report on the state of the US video game industry, exploring how Americans consume and feel about gaming in general.
Games 360 2017 states that 64 percent of the US population for people ages 13-and-over are gamers—a slight increase over last year’s count of 63 percent.
Despite all the gaming platforms available these days, Nielsen found that consumers favor one type over all others. The percentage of those who play on only one device type (console, mobile/tablet or computer) has risen year-over-year to 46 percent. Of the three device types, 47 percent prefer to play on consoles, compared to computers and mobile/tablets at 27 and 26 percent, respectively.
After several years of sustained growth, playing on mobile and tablet appears to have leveled off, Nielsen observed. Sixty-two percent of console players now play games on mobile or tablet, compared to 66 percent a year ago.
Whether Americans play games or not, a majority of those surveyed for Nielsen Games’ report were aware of the PlayStation 4. From the general population ages 13-and-up, 67 percent said they were aware of the PS4, compared to 77 percent of gamers and 52 percent of non-gamers. Xbox One and Xbox One S were not far behind in brand awareness, with 61 percent (general population), 72 percent (gamers) and 41 percent (non-gamers).
This trend carried over to purchase intention, where more respondents intended to buy a PlayStation 4 (or another one, if already owned) than any other console listed.
Physical Or Digital?
While digital purchases have become far more commonplace in recent years, the choice to buy a physical copy of a game or digital one depends greatly on which platform that gamer prefers. For example, Nielsen found that console gamers prefer physical copies to add to their collections (69 percent compared to 31 percent preferring digital). On the other hand, 75 percent of PC gamers prefer digital downloads compared to 25 percent who prefer physical copies.
The report notes an interesting correlation between these choices—those who prefer digital copies spend more time each week gaming. PC gamers who prefer digital copies of a game spend, on average, 8.1 hours of leisure time per week playing, and like-minded console players spend around 7.1 hours a week compared to 5.5 hours per week (PC gamers who prefer physical copies) and 6.1 hours were week (console gamers who prefer physical copies).
Ninety-four percent of esports fans are also gamers, Nielsen observed, noting that 77 percent are male and 23 percent are female. Those who have become a fan of esports within the last year listed “friends and family” as the top reason for the sudden interest, followed by “social media.” For those who have been esports fans four years or longer, “family and friends” is also a big reason, second only to “interest in a specific game that led to esports.”
As esports becomes more mainstream, 17 percent of respondents say they use ESPN to watch game-related video, compared to 12 percent in 2016.