Console Games vs. Mobile Gaming

Console Games vs. Mobile Gaming

If you’ve had the privilege of being a “Nielsen Family” in recent years, congratulations, you’ve helped shape a hot, ongoing internet debate. Data from the Nielsen entertainment research group indicates that between 2009 and 2010, people are spending less of their leisure budget on traditional video games (including consoles, rentals, game purchases, and even downloads) and more of their budget on “cellphone entertainment” that doesn’t include making telephone calls (such as texting, ringtones, apps, and games).

While the drop in families’ dedicated video game budget isn’t necessarily cardiac arrest-inducing (8.5% of the average leisure budget in 2010 versus 9.3% of the average leisure budget in 2009), the jump in family cellphone funding is significant: 5.3% in 2009 versus 7.4% in 2010.

One of the Internet’s favorite topics is the supposed exodus from traditional game consoles and handhelds to cellphones. Nielsen’s study hasn’t done much to muffle conversation on said topic. Do we finally have irrefutable proof that the changeover is gradually happening?

Although it’s open for debate, perhaps what we actually have proof of is the quick expansion of the smartphone market. But even with Nielsen’s data, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how said expansion will cripple sales of consoles and handhelds–if at all.

Most importantly, Nielsen put the study together to evaluate how families are spending their leisure budgets, which is why the subjects of study are so broad. In other words, the report and its accompanying graph make it tricky to compare the habits of smartphone gamers versus console gamers–and that’s fine, because Nielsen never intended to compare those habits in the first place.

The study is beneficial for gamers in one regard, though: It proves that families are spending more time outdoors these days. Take that, game-based obesity scare literature.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

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