Media analysis firm Nielsen found that the largest demographic of PC gamers was women ages 25 and up, Wii owners play videogames the least, and Xbox 360 and PS3 owners don’t watch much TV.
I’ll admit that as a rather fervent PC gamer who happens to be both male and under 25, the news that PC gaming was dominated by women over 25 initially caught me off guard … until I realized that Nielsen’s comprehensive “State of the Gamer” report counts anybody who uses a computer to play games – any type of game. When you look beyond BioShock and Dawn of War II to count Bejeweled, Peggle, and old classics like Snood, it’s not hard to see how the demographic swings the way it does. No surprises then to see that the old standard Solitaire is the most-played PC game, with 17 million players in December 2008. My mom plays Solitaire, for cryin’ out loud!
Indeed, it’s trends like the broadening PC gaming demographic or the increasing penetration of new platforms like mobile phones (helloooo, iPhone!) that are making videogames recession-resilient if not quite recession-proof. Yeah, we’ve all heard the stories before of retirement homes and hospitals picking up Wiis … it just turns out that they don’t play them quite so often.
Unlike the (comparatively) unpopular GameCube, the Wii is selling like crazy. Like its predecessor, though, the Wii is the least frequently played console of the generation: Both consoles have the lowest percentage of active users, and the fewest average play sessions of their respective console generations.
Unsurprisingly, the report found that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were the consoles of choice for the hardcore crowd – with the PlayStation 3 having an older userbase on average (counting those who solely use a PS3 or a 360). In an interesting trend, Nielsen classifies PS3/360 owners as “medium” to “light” television watchers, as opposed to last generation, where Xbox and PS2 owners were “heavy” TV-philes.
Nielsen classifies households earning more than $75,000 annually and 12-17 year old males as the “most active” gamers.