For all of the advertising, guerrilla marketing and other approaches that video game companies take to promote their new releases, more than two-fifths of gamers are using word of mouth from friends and others to get information about their games.
According to market research company The NPD Group, 41% of all gamers rely on word of mouth above all other sources of information. Although the percentage varies a bit by platform, word of mouth ranked above all other forms of marketing, followed by hands-on play at friends' or relatives' homes (31%). Magazine and online ads, incentives and coupons and social networking sites all fared poorly among gamer influence, according to NPD.
"When it comes to developing successful games and targeting marketing and promotions, each gaming platform has its own unique challenges and opportunities to consider," Anita Frazier, industry analyst with The NPD Group, said in a statement.
However, such marketing could get trickier. According to NPD's research, there is significant cross-ownership of platforms. For instance, of all the Wii owners in the United States (about 32% of all gamers), 14% also own a PlayStation 3 and 26% own an Xbox360. Among PlayStation 3 owners (about 10% of all gamers), 42% own a Wii and 34% own an Xbox360. And among Xbox360 owners (20% of all gamers) 42% own a Wii, but only 18% own a PlayStation 3.
Among gamers, 56% are male, while 44% are female, according to NPD. Players in the 2- to-12-year-old age group make up the largest segment at 24%, while 25- to-34-year-olds make up 20% (35- to-44-year-olds account for about 17%). Not surprisingly, households with kids 12 and under account for 45% of total industry dollar sales, according to NPD.
More than half of Wii users said they use the online features to play Card/Puzzle/Arcade/Word games, compared with 39% of Xbox 360 users and 42% of PS3 users. Among the later two consoles, however, Shooter games ranked highest for online play (59% of Xbox users and 57% of PlayStation 3). Offline, Family-oriented games topped the list for Wii, followed by Racing and Sports. For Xbox 360, Family and Action-Adventure topped the list, and among PlayStation 3 owners, Action-Adventure and Racing were preferred offline games