While video console games are played most frequently by young people, PC games generate frequent play among individuals both young and old. In fact, the highest frequency of PC gaming was reported by those age 65 and older. The findings come from The Gamer 2003, the latest in a series of ACNielsen

Homescan PanelTrack syndicated studies.

“We know that video console ownership is strongly correlated with the presence of children in a household, so that accounts for the higher incidence of video console gaming among younger players,” said Jim Harnden, ACNielsen PanelTrack sales and marketing manager. “However, we were surprised at the high incidence of PC gaming among the oldest segment of the population. This highlights an important opportunity for PC game manufacturers, especially in light of the rapid expansion of our older population segments.”

The study also found that word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective means of promoting video and PC games.

According to Harnden, “For video game manufacturers who are not utilizing what’s known as ’viral‘ or ’buzz‘ marketing, this should serve as a real wake up call. Our research shows that the impact of advertisements, product reviews, and store flyers pales in comparison to the power of a gamer’s point of view.”

Among other findings:

41% of individuals own a video game console, which is the same percentage that played a PC game on their computer in the past three months

Action games are the most frequently played type of video console game. Family entertainment games are the most frequently played type of PC game

Action games were played most often by households earning $20,000 or less per year. Wealthier households played sports games most often

The Gamer 2003 was based on survey responses from more than 16,000 individual members of the more than 12,000-household ACNielsen Homescan consumer panel. The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2003.

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