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Teens looking for console games, not social titles
Teens looking for console games, not social titles
October 9, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

October 9, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

While the traditional console market has seen some notable declines at retail over the past several months, it remains an extremely prominent market for teen consumers, who are still very keen on purchasing major high-budget releases.

Analyst firm Piper Jaffray recently surveyed some 7,700 high school students across the United States, and found that -- despite its claims from earlier this year -- teens are still very interested in traditional console games. NPD reports might suggest the console market is in decline, but for male teens in particular, the firm says that space is still as exciting as ever.

And these consumers aren't just interested in the retail market; they're also embracing digital formats. According to the report, 53.3 percent of teen players already feel comfortable downloading a big-budget game right to their console rather than purchasing it at retail.

That also bodes well for developers releasing downloadable content for their games, as younger players are already primed to purchase their game content online.

But while teens are embracing digital games as a whole, they've been losing interest in the online social space. This spring, 25.3 percent of teens reported that they played games on social networks, but for Piper Jaffray's most recent fall survey, that figure dropped to 17.4 percent.

In the months ahead, Piper Jaffray expects big-budget games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Madden 13, and Assassin's Creed III to be among the most popular titles for U.S. teens. If you're working for a major console developer, now's a great time to launch games for that younger demographic, but social and casual game developers might want to be a bit more cautious.

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tony oakden
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Hmmm, I speak to quite a few teanagers, and their mums through in my work and when I ask them about the games their kids play the response I get is pretty much always "He plays a lot of COD". Strange how the word COD has found it's way into none gamers dialect. Comparatively few play single player games. Anyway it's pretty clear to me that although teenage boys don't usually play traditional "social" games their is a very strong social element to the games they play and that is a strong factor in their choice of games.

Dave Ingram
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"their is a very strong social element to the games "

That is so true. "Social" isn't really a precise word to describe "the type of game that sits on a social-networking platform and solicits annoyance to friends." We need a new term for that segment, because AAA console titles like COD are extremely social. On the PC side, a friend of mine recently referred to Starcraft 2 multiplayer as "the real game," saying that he didn't want to waste time with the campaign. That just goes to show that the younger generation really wants most or all of their games to be truly social.

Merc Hoffner
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I LOVE this article and will be referencing it in the future. It shows polling by Piper Jaffray, a prominent market analytics firm, virtually simultaneously claiming that teens think traditional gaming is dead and alive. Covering your bases eh? Really, what's the point of this kind of analytic information if it mutually backs both positions? DIVEST! INVEST! Pay for our data both times! Perhaps They are implying that in the last few months the situation has changed: 25.3 to 17.4% is an eye watering 9.6% contraction in 6 months - so painful I'd either proclaim that Social gaming is on the precipice of imminent collapse, or perhaps more reasonably that these kinds of polls are shockingly stochastic and/or non-indicative. Neither possibility is comforting. In the case the data is wrong then that's one ridiculous thing. In the case that the data is actually representative then the analytic groups must admit that there is a strong time component to the industry. Perhaps even that a thing called cycles might exist.

In that case perhaps they could desist from the incessant ringing of the death knell for consoles because "sales are down double digits year-on-year: it must be Apple's mystiq Powerz!!!" in year 6 and 7 of the cycle, and you know, look back at some history or whatever.

Nevermind. I think I'll look for a Piper Jaffray column proclaiming "DS sales were down in 2011, NINTENDO IS DEAD, LONG LIVE APPLE" for a laugh. If I thought they had more brains I'd be inclined to think they were trying to manipulate the stocks.

Benjamin Quintero
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Sooo... It's pretty much what everyone already knew. Seriously, people get paid to just sit around and say, "console is dead... no wait, it's alive again!" Those guys are probably banking a like million dollar paycheck to throw darts at a wall. I'm in the wrong business...

Matthew Jackson
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good read..i must arrive that cod and games of this nature definitely have a social aspect to it. its kinda why i play the games and also the reason why i play airsoft and get my guns from because my friends have them. i mean you look at the reason why people do a lot of different things and its b/c of the social aspect.