Friday, February 20, 2009

Wii Attracting Young Boys, Older Women in Droves - Nielsen

Wii Attracting Young Boys, Older Women in Droves – Nielsen

New usage data from Nielsen confirms what many of us have observed: Wii is attracting a new audience, but that audience isn't playing very often compared to PS3 and 360 gamers.

by James Brightman on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

With all the talk of Nintendo expanding the video game audience, it should come as little surprise that new data from Nielsen Media Research suggests that Wii fares best with young boys and older women. The metered usage data, which covers last year's all-important fourth quarter (October – December), shows that Nintendo's console does a good job attracting boys age 6-11 and women age 25-34.

Furthermore, usage of the Wii by women over 35 is much higher than with the Xbox 360 and PS3. Wii Fit, Guitar Hero and Rock Band were cited as products that have been particularly enticing for older females. While the Wii has certainly brought in a new audience, the more traditional 18-24 age group (often looked at as the hardcore gamer demographic) has engaged in much less Wii usage – for both genders in this age range.

As for the other consoles, Nielsen found the PS3 to skew the oldest of the three platforms, possibly because of consumer brand loyalty and since Sony dominated the market with the PS One in 1994 and PS2 in 2000. "Gamers who owned one or both of these consoles in their youth may have 'graduated' to the PS3 in their assumed adulthood. For both males and females, the highest usage came from the 18-24 age group," Nielsen noted. Microsoft's Xbox 360, meanwhile, seemed to find the middle ground between Wii and PS3. Among males, the largest percentage of usage was found in the 12-17 age group, older than Wii, but younger than PS3. For females, the 25-34 age group had the highest percentage of usage.

Overall, however, while the Wii was the least used console on average, the Xbox 360 saw males using the Xbox 360 on nearly twice as many days per month as females (10.2 vs. 5.4 in December). On the PS3 and Wii, usage breakdown by gender was much more balanced.

"All three of the consoles have their fans, and sales of consoles and games have been some of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak retail environment," said Bradley Raczka, Marketing Manager for Nielsen Games. "It will be interesting to watch the continued migration to the current generation consoles in 2009, and see how releases of titles such as Halo Wars, Resident Evil 5, MadWorld, Killzone 2 and Street Fighter IV impact usage trends in the first half of the year."

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