Video Games, Entertainment Purchases Slowed In '10
Like many other forms of entertainment, the traditional video game business growth has slowed down. One report says the money is shifting to less obvious places -- like dining, and cell-phone-related entertainment.
Nielsen's 360 Gaming report says overall video gaming sales decreased slightly in 2010 versus 2009. Also, its share of a typical monthly household's recreational budget -- who regularly makes video game purchases -- dropped to 8.5% from 9.3%.
At the same time, leisure activities like dining out and shopping grew to 25.1% from 20.4% -- the biggest category in these homes. Also, cell-phone-related entertainment grew 7.4% from 5.3%.
But share declines were not limited to just video games. Other media/ entertainment purchases sank in 2010: Theatrical movie purchases dropped from 5.9% to 4.7% from 5.9%; DVD rentals declined 4.3% to 3.5%; subscription/premium TV purchases sank to 3.2% from 3.7%; CD sales dropped from 3.8% to 2.6% and magazines/newspaper buys decreased from 3.4% to 2.2%.
This isn't necessarily bad news for the overall economy. Nielsen says this is "likely a barometer of improving overall consumer confidence" and "may reflect a broader shift toward mobile in how consumers invest their media and entertainment dollars."
The good news from the video game business is that video game buyer homes represent 26% of U.S. homes, roughly even with 24% in 2009 -- and its share in video game homes is still the second-largest of all categories.