Tots Take Over as Video Games' Hottest Audience
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
October 12 2011 04:15 PM ET
For Microsoft Kinect players only: Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster
CREDIT: Warner Bros.
Preschoolers are the fastest-growing age group of gamers in the country, according to a new report from the NPD Group. Since 2009, the number of 2- to 5-year-old kids who game has grown 17 percent, outpacing overall growth in kid gaming by more than 4 percentage points.
Game developers have responded to the tot market with age- appropriate games that appeal to the active pre-reader crowd. Just this week, Warner Bros. released "Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster," exclusively for Kinect, Microsoft’s hands-free Xbox accessory that uses players’ movements to interact with Cookie Monster, Grover and other "Sesame Street" pals. Manufacturers have also introduced kid-friendly devices and accessories in acknowledgment of the growing importance of the preschool market.
While tots have led the growth across all age groups 17 and younger, video gaming has become a near-universal pastime for all kids. Today 91 percent of kids (approximately 64 million) are gaming in the U.S., an increase of 9 points from 2009. The other segments driving this growth are females and teens ages 15-17, said NPD.
Mobile gaming soared, with 38 percent of kids reporting they use a smartphone or tablet for playing games, a nearly fivefold increase over the 8 percent who did so in 2009. Use of portable gaming devices such as Sony’s PSP have experienced more-modest gains, up 7 percentage points to 45 percent this year.
Data was collected via an online survey of 4,136 individuals ages 2-17. (For younger kids, mothers were asked to bring the child to the computer to answer survey questions, either with or without assistance.) Final survey data was weighted to represent the U.S. population of individuals age 2 to 17.