Games are Gamey

The most surprising factoid from a N.Y. Times article on the surprisingly poor-performing games market:

  • The number of United States households with a video game console had not risen significantly in more than a decade

Fascinating. I play zero games (unless I’m pursuing a Ph.D., of course), and have never owned a console, so I’m cheerfully adrift on explanations.


  1. Brent Holliday says:

    The reason that EA just lopped 5% of its staff after being on a hiring binge for 3 years is that overall dollar sales of video games has been flattening over the past 5 years ( Will this continue?
    To your factoid: Consoles are often bought by a household in bunches (I think I know of only a few families with only one console). So a flattening of the households that have at least one console is probably only indicative of the fact that households with kids are not growing fast either. The video game industry is in its 6 year lull because it is between generations of consoles. When Sony rolls out its P3 later this year, all boats will float. The same thing happened in 1994 and again in 2000 with the Playstation and P2 releases resepctively.
    What will be more interesting is the cost per title for the new, supercharged hardware, which seems to be exploding.

  2. One explanation is that it isn’t true. Penetration rates that I’ve seen (and they could be wrong too) have definitely gone up. Individual unit sales I would say have doubled from 16-bit to 128-bit over similar periods of time. It could be that ‘gamers’ are buying 2 consoles now instead of 1 but I have no data for that.