ATLANTA -- Video and computer games rank second only to television as a form of home entertainment, according to a consumer study commissioned by the Interactive Digital Software Association, Washington.
"Demand for entertainment software is growing across all segments of the market," said Douglas Lowenstein, the IDSA's president.
The study showed that respondents spend an average of 15.4 hours a week watching television, 7.4 hours playing video or computer games, 2.3 hours surfing the net and 2.2 hours watching a movie rental.
The research was conducted by NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y., earlier this year, and surveyed 1,500 households identified as owning either a game console system or a computer used to run entertainment software, or both. NPD interviewed the individual in those households who used entertainment hardware the most and the results reflect their experiences, said Lowenstein.
The study was made public during the Electronic Entertainment Expo here. The study also showed shifts in consumers' preferences for various types of games, he said. For example, intent to buy computer learning games went from 25% in 1996 to 35% in 1997. Also, computer software preferences are shifting from action, sports and simulation games to puzzle and strategy, he said. In console games, consumer interest is greatest in action, sports, puzzle and role-playing games.
Consoles, such as Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation, were the systems most often used for interactive entertainment. "Sixty percent of all entertainment software was run on consoles and 40% was run on personal computers," said Lowenstein.
Meanwhile, the survey showed a sharply increased interest in on-line gaming. The percentage of respondents accessing interactive entertainment software by on-line services went from 10% in 1996 to 14% in 1997.
"The truth is that predicting the future of this business is a fool's mission. Technology is changing too fast, consumer attitudes and tastes are still being shaped and market forces are still ever shifting," said Lowenstein.