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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
'Games overtake music' for US men
Old men playing console game, BBC
Older gamers are a significant proportion of all players
Men spend more on computer games than they do on music, reveals an entertainment report of US consumers.

The survey by Nielsen Entertainment shows that DVDs are the number one purchase for men each month.

It also found that games are starting to attract significant numbers of players beyond the core target market of males aged eight to 34.

The report also revealed the fact that the look of a game is key to determining whether people will buy it.

Almost a quarter of gamers, 24%, are over 40 years, said the report.

Social split

It found that 40% of US homes own a PC, game console or handheld gaming device. Almost a quarter of these, 23%, own all three types of gaming gadget and the vast majority of gamers, 89%, do their playing via a console.

The PlayStation 2 is the most popular console with 57% of gamers owning one compared to 39% with an Xbox and 27% with a Gamecube. A small, fanatical number, 8%, own all three consoles.

On average, gamers spend 5.2 hours per week playing by themselves and a further 3.07 hours taking on friends and family.

Increasingly, women and older men are spending time playing games too.

Older men tend to spend more time, 79%, playing alone but by contrast women gamers are more social.

Women aged 13 to 17 tend to spend more time, 54%, playing against friends and family members while older women, aged 23-34, split their time equally between social and solo play.

Finally the research noted that the African-American and Hispanic people questioned spend more on games than they do on any other consumer entertainment category.

The report said these groups were an "underserved" and "potentially lucrative" sector of the gaming market.

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