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It’s All About the Games Now

August 27, 2014 By Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, Consumer Electronics Association
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With the dust settled from another E3 showcase, gamers have some exciting game announcements to pine after as we head into the 2014 holiday season and beyond. Sony and Microsoft are both focused heavily on their newest, eighth-generation home consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, respectively), while Nintendo continues to try to shake up these heavyweights with new releases for the Wii U.

CEA recently released the report, The Future of Gaming, which took a deep look into how gaming platforms are faring in the marketplace, considering the growing competition from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The study found that home console and mobile gamers have completely different needs when it comes to which devices they use and the types of games that they play.

Gaming Device Ownership
Overall, two-thirds (68 percent) of online U.S. adults own a traditional gaming device such as a home console, portable game device or gaming PC. Consumers are most likely to own seventh-generation consoles including the Nintendo Wii (35 percent), Microsoft Xbox 360 (29 percent) or Sony PlayStation 3 (24 percent). However, the new eighth-generation consoles have already made significant progress in terms of ownership, as 11 percent of online consumers indicate they own a PlayStation 4, eight percent own an Xbox One and seven percent own a Wii U.

Mobile devices have also become a significant piece of the gaming pie. With ownership rates of smartphones (70 percent) and tablets (51 percent) at their historical peaks for online adults, portable connected devices are becoming the go-to gaming device for many consumers. One in 10 gamers say their primary gaming device is a smartphone (12 percent) or tablet (nine percent), roughly on par with seventh-generation consoles like the Xbox 360 (16 percent), PlayStation 3 (12 percent) and Wii (10 percent).

Future Purchase Intent
Looking ahead to the next 12 months, consumers remain the most interested in purchasing portable connected devices such as smartphones (37 percent) and tablets (26 percent). However, the most likely purchases in the traditional console space are almost tied with the newly released Xbox One (15 percent) and PlayStation 4 (14 percent). Over the next six months, seven percent of consumers are planning to buy an Xbox One compared to six percent for PlayStation 4.

Genre Matters for Traditional and Mobile Gamers
Many gamers decide whether to play games on a gaming device based on its set of features. According to gamers, the most important feature is the quality of games offered (89 percent importance) on the system or device. Perhaps unsurprisingly, hardcore gamers place the highest importance on game quality for both traditional consoles (99 percent) and mobile devices (95 percent). Other common reasons gamers flock to a specific device include the price of games (79 percent), ease of use (77 percent), price of system (76 percent) and graphics (75 percent).
 

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