Gaming Console Adoption in Steep Decline in U.S., Western Europe

Gaming console manufacturers know they face an uphill battle as the mobile gaming market continues to steal consumers’ attention. But a series of reports from Parks Associates shows just how much trouble the Big Three (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) face both in the U.S. and the western part of Europe.

In their new European research report, Parks found a steady decline in gaming console adoption in France, Spain, and the U.K., while it remained flat in Germany. The research firm pointed to the continued adoption of mobile gaming as well as the availability of gaming on streaming media devices as key drivers of the decline.

“France’s gaming console adoption dropped from 59 percent in 2013 to 49 percent in 2015, and the impact reaches beyond gaming,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Research Director at Parks Associates, said in a statement. “Game consoles remain one of the key elements of the connected home, but other devices are gaining importance, including smart TVs and streaming media players. As penetration of game consoles declines in global markets, companies will have to make difficult decisions regarding which platforms to support as they fund video games or digital media apps.”

Here’s a look at the current state of the gaming console market overseas:

parks associates gaming console marketAs for the domestic gaming console market, in its recent NUMBERS research, Parks Associates estimated that gaming consoles, which have long been the most common internet-connected entertainment devices, will dip below 50 percent broadband household penetration by 2019. This comes after 10 years of declining sales.

“Most major device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Sony, are focused on offering gaming through their connectable devices,” Sappington said. “Although high-performance gaming will not match the experience on consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox, these connected devices can reach non-traditional gamers. The challenge will be to expand the customer base by motivating consumers to play more casual games on TVs and streaming devices in addition to mobile devices.”

The decline won’t be helped with the rise of VR and cloud-based gaming in the next year or so. Expect the major gaming console players to look to get into the space as the gaming market enters a new era.

According to Parks Associates research, today, gaming consoles are most often used for streaming media among younger consumers, while older consumers turn to their smart TVs for streaming media.

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