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Game Time

In our last Kaleidoscope (October 2010), we looked at the female gamer and explored her interests and motivations around online gaming. As a next step, we wanted to gain some perspective on what drives kids to game across various platforms. In this second part of our gaming study, we're aiming to understand how both genders shop for video games, make purchasing decisions and identify the times of the day they play games.
January 12, 2011

In our last Kaleidoscope (October 2010), we looked at the female gamer and explored her interests and motivations around online gaming. As a next step, we wanted to gain some perspective on what drives kids to game across various platforms. In this second part of our gaming study, we’re aiming to understand how both genders shop for video games, make purchasing decisions and identify the times of the day they play games.

We know the significant role that video gaming plays in kids’ lives. Gaming is one of the top activities chosen by kids, especially boys, to occupy their free time. In order for us to fully comprehend why kids choose to play the types of games they do across platforms, it was important to take a step back and understand the purchasing process from the outset. Having shopped with kids ages eight to13 at various video game retailers, we discovered just how thoughtful they are when determining what to buy.

Both boys and girls are big browsers when shopping for video games. While we know that girls, even at young ages, tend to shop like this regardless of category, boys do not. However, in this category, boys are seemingly dedicating more time to browsing than girls are.

The act of shopping was interesting and unique to this category. Several kids sat on the floor with their purchase options in-hand, reading the packages and examining pictures. And in order to see all possible choices beyond their eye level, some crawled across the floor to ensure they had exhausted all their options.

Packaging is also very important when it comes to game purchases. Kids, especially boys, take their time to look at pictures, read the back of boxes, and even pull enclosed pamphlets out of packages to gather more information on game play.

Shelf layout must also not be forgotten as a key factor when it comes to making a purchase decision. It’s hard to see all their choices if games are stacked behind one another.

As for when kids play video games, there were some significant differences across age groups. For eight- and nine-year-olds, the heaviest gaming activity occurs after school. Throughout the course of a typical day, consoles and online are the platforms this demo turns to most often, with online skewing girl. While mobile does show up, penetration remains low. Similarly, after-school hours are peak play time for 10s and 11s, primarily through console and online platforms. Mobile devices, however, account for a more significant part of game play throughout the course of a day, especially with girls. This age group also showed the highest console use after school than all other ages.

Kids ages 12 to 13 game the most during after-school and evening hours, although with this age group, gaming truly occurs throughout the course of an entire day, including during school. Thanks to portable devices like the iPod Touch and cell phones, kids are taking ‘quick hit’ game breaks in between classes and during lunch periods. For boys, the morning served as the second-most common time to play console games, just behind after school. It can be assumed after school sports start to play a more significant role in their lives as they get older, in addition to receiving increasing amounts of homework. Therefore, older boys are making time in the mornings to get their game on.

This concludes part two of our report on gaming. Our next Kaleidoscope will report on the role of play in the lives of families today. For more information, contact Kaleidoscope@nick.com.

(Source: Nick Kids & Family Research. October 2010; Qual sample size: N = 32)

In an effort to keep you in touch with our audience and give a voice to our consumers, the Brand and Consumer Insights Department at Nickelodeon Kids & Family has created Nickelodeon Kaleidoscope. Every month, Kaleidoscope will capture key areas of interest across the kid and family cultural landscape, provide an understanding of attitudes and behaviors, and report on trends and buzz.

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