Although U.S. video game revenues have taken a hit this year, 2009 saw a surge in video game usage and ownership, according to a new survey from accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.
In Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy Survey, Fourth Edition, released this week, the firm found that nearly 60 percent of U.S. households owned a video game console in 2009. That's up from 44 percent three years ago.
Deloitte said this surge in video game console ownership and use is thanks mainly to Generation X-ers (ages 27-43) and baby boomers (ages 44-62). Nearly 70 percent of Gen X-ers and 44 percent of baby boomers now own a Wii, Xbox, PlayStation, or other system. Three years ago, just 53 percent of Gen X-ers and 31 percent of baby boomers owned a games console.
The increased ownership naturally led to a surge in video game playing. In the past six months, 31 percent of baby boomers played a newly-released video game, up from 12 percent in 2008.
Among Gen X-ers, 54 percent played a newly-released video game in the past six months, up from 37 percent a year ago. Millennials rose to 74 percent, up from 59 percent in 2008 and "Matures" (ages 63-75) rose to 8 percent in 2009 from 3 percent a year prior.
Deloitte attributed Gen X-ers' and baby boomers' surge in gaming habits to a tough economy that has forced more people to find lower-cost entertainment within their own homes.
"The last year has posed serious financial challenges for American families and their media consumption habits have changed as a result,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and Deloitte U.S. Technology, Media & Telecommunications leader.
"The dramatically increased appeal of the gaming console is noteworthy on two levels. It is further proof of the renewed focus on the television as the home entertainment hub, and it also raises the possibility of the console becoming a significant content distribution channel into the home."
Elsewhere in the survey, Deloitte found that 34 percent of consumers place TV viewing ahead of reading, music, and web surfing as their favorite media activities. In addition, 42 percent of respondents say they access the internet from their mobile phones, which suggests a "decoupling" of the internet from the desktop, Deloitte said.