The Great American Gaming Landscape
Since November 2006, NPD's monthly console sales reports have provided the best publicly available data on the North American console market. But while these reports give a good rough sketch of the size and shape of the market, they leave unanswered some rather important questions. How many Americans, for instance, are playing games even though they don't own a current-generation console? How many American households own more than one current-gen system? Are those Nintendo Wii buyers using the system by itself, or as an addition to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3? Which console combinations are the most common?
Luckily, an NPD press release from last week helps provide answers to those questions and more. Though the release was primarily focused on the power of "word-of-mouth" advertising and "hands-on play" in gaming purchasing decisions, it also included an interesting table on cross-system ownership among American households. With these new data points, and a few more provided by NPD and the U.S. Census, we can outline the American gaming landscape with much more precision than before.
Console ownership among gamers in the United States, as of January 2009. Each box and intersection is sized proportionally to its share of the U.S. population. Hover over the chart to see detailed percentages for each section, as a proportion of the U.S. population. Unless otherwise noted, all percentages refer to areas bounded by black lines.
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Console ownership among gamers in the United States
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A more detailed breakdown of the numbers and notes on how they were derived are included on the following page, but here are some of the interesting data points that jumped out at me:
While there are a million different ways to arrange it, here are some basic breakdowns of NPD's American console ownership data. Note that people were asked about what systems were in their households, not necessarily whether or not they played those systems. Adding and recombining these numbers can provide data on a lot more subgroups -- feel free to play around with the data yourself if so inclined, and share your findings in the comments.
|% of U.S. pop.||% of gamers||Number|
|Gamers w/out current-gen console||29.08%||52.30%||88,857,700|
|U.S. population w/out current-gen console||73.47%||N/A||224,486,937|
|At least one console||26.53%||47.70%||81,042,300|
|At least two consoles||6.84%||12.30%||20,897,700|
|Wii & Xbox 360||4.65%||8.36%||14,203,640|
|Wii & PS3||2.41%||4.34%||7,373,660|
|PS3 & Xbox 360||2.00%||3.60%||6,116,400|
|Exactly one console||19.69%||35.40%||60,144,600|
|Xbox 360 only||5.58%||10.04%||17,057,960|
|Exactly two consoles||5.73%||10.30%||17,499,700|
|Wii & Xbox 360 (no PS3)||3.54%||6.36%||10,805,640|
|Wii & PS3 (no Xbox 360)||1.30%||2.34%||3,975,660|
|PS3 & Xbox 360 (No Wii)||0.89%||1.60%||2,718,400|
Among 360 owners
|360 & Wii only||31.80%||10,805,640|
|360 & PS3 only||8.00%||2,718,400|
Among PS3 owners
|PS3 & Wii only||23.40%||3,975,660|
|PS3 & 360 only||16.00%||2,718,400|
Among Wii owners
|Wii & 360 only||19.88%||10,805,640|
|Wii & PS3 only||7.31%||3,975,660|
Most of the raw data for this analysis comes from this Sept. 14 NPD press release, which surveyed nearly 21,000 Americans aged two and older in January 2009. The size of the "gamer" population was reported directly by NPD's David Riley from the same data set. The size of the U.S. population in January 2009 was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, and all the data in the above "Number" columns were derived from that.
The proportion of gamers that own all three systems was obtained from a 2008 NPD press release that took data from a January 2008 consumer survey. NPD was not able to provide an updated proportion for the 2009 survey as of press time, so the 2008 number was used as an estimate.
Thanks to Matt Matthews for his help with the data analysis.
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