Two in Three U.S. Households Play Games

As if network television didn’t have enough to contend with. Now comes along a just released study that says the majority of U.S. households are playing digital games at home more than ever.

According to Ziff Davis Media’s videogame survey, Target the Gaming Life: Digital Gaming in America 2003, 63 percent of U.S. households play digital games–an indication that games are mainstream and a major entertainment form. That’s game playing in over 68 million homes. The report was presented yesterday at the seventh annual Ziff Davis Media Electronic Gaming Summit, in Sonoma, Calif.

Of the multiplicity of platforms on which to play, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cellular phones are a significant platform of choice. Over 14% of U.S. households with PDAs use them to play their videogames. Over 9.5 million people report playing games on their PDAs, and 8 million use their mobile phones for video gaming.

Moreover, online gaming is becoming increasingly popular, as 66 percent say that the Internet is their platform of choice. These users spend an average of 12 hours online each week. Eight percent of online gamers cite Sony’s PlayStation 2 as their platform of choice, while four percent use Microsoft’s Xbox “The study tells us that whether at home or on the go, videogames are increasing in popularity as a primary form of entertainment,” says Lee Uniacke, publisher of the Ziff Davis Game Group. “This year’s research proves that gamers are becoming more mainstream. They’re significant consumers of motion pictures and music and are having a broad impact on those activities.”

The research also reveals that video gamers go to the movies twice a month on average, and 60 percent see films during their first two weeks of theatrical distribution. Among core gamers — those purchasing at least 18 games yearly — 77 percent have watched movie trailers online. Perhaps not too surprisingly, 89 percent of core gamers are fans of action and adventure movies. Films in the franchise category–The Matrix, X-Men, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars rank among their favorite films.

Respondents ranked their familiarity and willingness to purchase the next game sequels as:

1. Zelda (ranked 7th last year)

2. Grand Theft Auto (2)

3. Final Fantasy (8)

4. Mario (1)

5. Mortal Kombat (10)

6. Donkey Kong (4)

7. Resident Evil (13)

8. Lord of the Rings (n.a.)

9. Frogger (17)

10. Tomb Raider/L.C. (15/19)?)

For more on the survey, check out: http://www.ziffdavis.com/