It doesn’t take a genius to work out that each of the three current-gen home consoles appeals to different sets of people. The Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 are all very different propositions, and the age and gender mix that play them varies greatly. And now, those user patterns have been mapped to give a clear picture of the different consoles’ diverse user bases.
There are many things that can influence our choice of video games console, from the games that are available on it, to brand loyalty, peer pressure, and even clever marketing. As I’ve opined before, I consider the current-gen to offer the most diverse range of consoles for the widest demographic ever seen on home consoles.
Nielsen Media Research tried to prove the point by tracking usage data by age and gender for all three of the home consoles. Over the course of October to December, 2008, console activity in all National TV Panel homes was measured, and the results are interesting if not very predictable.
The Wii, which is by far the bestselling home console of this generation, appeals mainly to males aged between six and 11, and females aged between 25 and 34. Women over the age of 35 use the Wii much more than either the PS3 or Xbox 360. Which would kind of explain how Wii Fit continues to top the all-format charts month after month.
Microsoft Xbox 360
The Xbox 360, currently sitting in a very comfortable second place in terms of sales, appeals mainly to males aged between 12 and 17, and females aged between 25 and 34. This seems like a bizarre mix but the younger age range for boys could explain the level of petty whining and douchebaggery on display over Xbox Live.
The PS3 generally seems to appeal to the older generation, with no young kids anywhere in the mix. This could just be because the Sony machine is so damn expensive that kids are still saving up their pocket money for one. Both males and females saw the largest usage amongst the 18 to 24 age range. This is considered the hardcore range where gamers play more games and for longer than any other age range.
The most telling statistic to emerge from this survey is that the Wii is by far the least used console, despite being installed in the most homes. This confirms a thought I’ve had for a long time now: the Wii is a short-lived novelty only brought out for parties.