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Gaming Consoles - US - September 2016

"The console hardware market has not seen growth in total unit sales for several years. However, this represents an evolution of the market – one that places great emphasis on software and services sales. Brands are increasingly challenged to raise the long-term value of their customers. "
-Bryant Harland, Senior Analyst – Technology and Media

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Previous generation consoles are still the most played
  • Graphics quality tops consumers’ console improvement wish lists 
  • Game bundles drive hardware sales

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Video game consoles include any device that is primarily used to play video games (eg Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Wii). This report focuses primarily on stationary gaming devices rather than portable gaming consoles (eg PS Vita, Nintendo DS). Devices that can play video games but are primarily used for other activities (eg smartphones) are not included in Mintel’s definition of gaming consoles.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Previous generation consoles are still the most played
            • Figure 1: Video game console ownership, July 2016
          • Graphics quality tops consumers’ console improvement wish lists
            • Figure 2: Desired video game console improvements, July 2016
          • Game bundles drive hardware sales
            • Figure 3: Attitudes toward console games, July 2016
          • The opportunities
            • Older Millennials are willing to explore brands
              • Figure 4: Console upgrade vs. new brand purchase, by age, July 2016
            • Backward compatibility would heighten the value of new consoles
              • Figure 5: Importance of games vs. hardware specifications, by household income, July 2016
            • Online services present revenue opportunities
              • Figure 6: Desired video game console improvements (online multiplayer), by consoles owned or played, July 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Market revenue growth driven more by software than hardware
                • Televisions to impact consoles
                  • Virtual reality to boost interest in higher-end hardware
                  • Market Size

                    • The console isn’t dead, but it’s evolving
                      • Figure 7: Total US unit sales of gaming consoles, 2011-16
                  • Market Factors

                    • Maturation of smart TVs, 4K video, and the implications for console gaming
                      • Augmented and virtual reality have strong implications for hardware
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • Leading brands see revenue growth from online services
                          • Nintendo Wii U struggles to establish itself in the console market
                            • Leading brands diverge in strategy
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Online services driving console brand revenue
                              • What’s Struggling?

                                • Nintendo’s Wii U struggles to gain traction
                                • What’s Next?

                                  • Paths diverge for the leading brands
                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                    • Current generation in competition with previous generation consoles
                                      • Room for supporting older generation consoles longer
                                        • 28% of console gamers will buy games as soon as they come out
                                        • Video Game Console Ownership and Purchase Intent

                                          • Current generation has not yet surpassed previous generation
                                            • Figure 8: Video game console ownership, July 2016
                                          • Gender gap smaller in previous generation consoles
                                            • Figure 9: Video game consoles ownership (previous generation), by gender, July 2016
                                            • Figure 10: Video game consoles ownership (current generation), by gender, July 2016
                                          • Younger consumers more likely to play current generation than own
                                            • Figure 11: Video game consoles ownership (PlayStation 4), by household income, July 2016
                                          • Console life cycle is extended among Hispanics
                                            • Figure 12: Video game consoles ownership (Nintendo Wii), by race and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                          • Consumers discuss their favorite consoles
                                          • Desired Improvements to Video Game Consoles

                                            • Better graphics quality is the most desired console improvement
                                              • Figure 13: Desired video game console improvements, July 2016
                                            • PlayStation, Xbox gamers want more online multiplayer support
                                              • Figure 14: Desired video game console improvements (online multiplayer), by consoles owned or played, July 2016
                                            • Older console gamers value accessibility
                                              • Figure 15: Desired video game console improvements (easier controls), by age, July 2016
                                          • Behaviors during Most Recent Console Purchase

                                            • Console purchasing decisions shaped by wives
                                              • Figure 16: Console upgrade vs. new brand purchase, by gender and relationship status, July 2016
                                            • Youngest adults less willing to explore new console brands
                                              • Figure 17: Console upgrade vs. new brand purchase, by age July 2016
                                            • Games trump console hardware for all income groups
                                              • Figure 18: Importance of games vs. hardware specifications, by household income, July 2016
                                            • Hispanic consumers divided between hardware and games
                                              • Figure 19: Importance of games vs. hardware specifications, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                          • Attitudes toward Console Gaming

                                            • Game bundles’ impact on console sales
                                              • Figure 20: Attitudes toward console games, July 2016
                                            • High interest in gaming tournaments for console games
                                              • Figure 21: Attitudes toward console games, by gender and age, July 2016
                                            • Social console gaming could engage Hispanics
                                              • Figure 22: Attitudes toward console games, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                          • Behaviors When Buying New Console Games

                                            • Many consumers willing to buy console games as soon as they come out
                                              • Figure 23: Video game purchasing habits, July 2016
                                            • Free and paid game downloading habits
                                              • Figure 24: Video game purchasing habits, by gender and age, July 2016
                                            • Console gifting higher among married consumers
                                              • Figure 25: Video game purchasing habits, by gender and relationship status, July 2016
                                            • Consumers explain their path to purchase
                                            • Attitudes toward Gaming Consoles

                                              • VR and game mods would create opportunity for the console market
                                                • Figure 26: Attitudes toward video game consoles, July 2016
                                              • Younger consumers interested in the design of console hardware
                                                • Figure 27: Attitudes toward video game consoles, by gender and age, July 2016
                                              • Hispanics show heightened interest in newer consoles
                                                • Figure 28: Attitudes toward video game consoles, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                                • Figure 29: Attitudes toward video game consoles, by household income, July 2016
                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                              • Data sources
                                                • Sales data
                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                        • Abbreviations

                                                        Companies Covered

                                                        To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                        Gaming Consoles - US - September 2016

                                                        £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)