Research firm Nielsen said U.S. video game buyers are spending a smaller amount of their budget on video games, and putting more money towards cell phone entertainment and leisure activities.
U.S. retail game sales were down slightly in 2010, the firm said, and among video game buyers, gaming's share of entertainment spend per household dropped slightly to 8.5 percent in 2010 from 9.3 percent in 2009.
Meanwhile, entertainment budget share among game buyers for leisure activities like dining out, shopping and going to a park rose to 25.1 percent in 2010, up from 20.4 percent in 2009.
"These decreases [in game spend and other categories] took place even as household leisure budgets increased by 9 percent from 2009 among video game buying homes," said Nielsen via its official blog.
The firm pointed out that while entertainment budget share of video games decreased slightly, the actual amount of money spent on video games was nearly the same year-on-year.
Aside from video games, other activities that saw budget share declines among U.S. video game buyers included seeing movies at a theater, buying or renting feature films on disc-based video, buying subscription/premium TV packages, buying music and buying print media.
Nielsen noted that while video game budget share slid and cell phone entertainment share rose, some gamer dollars could simply be moving from non-mobile video games to mobile video games.
"The same logic may apply to the other categories that experienced slight declines in share. The screen is shifting but the content may be the same," said Nielsen.
The firm said video game buyer households made up 26 percent of U.S. homes in 2010, up slightly from 24 percent in 2009. Nielsen categorizes a video game buyer household as one that spends $1 or more per month on gaming.