Convert BrandIndex's videogame console data into Mediapost and Ad Age stories

Older Buyers Less Keen On Console Video Games

Console video game makers would do well to use the industry's largest show -- E3 -- this week to create some buzz around their systems, as interest in them seems to be slipping, particularly among older consumers.

"This is a good platform for these companies to create a buzz and have an impact," says Ted Marzilli, senior vice president and general manager, at YouGovPolimetrix, which runs interviews 5,000 consumers daily to measure positive and negative feedback about a wide variety of brands.

According to YouGov's index, Nintendo's Wii system still leads in both the 18-34 and 35- to-49-year-old demographics when it comes to value (defined by the company as "what you get in return for what you pay"). However, in the older demographic, the system's score has steadily dropped since the end of March. (In the younger demo, the index score remained relatively stable.)

Marzilli says the drop in value perception may be traced to several factors. For the older demographic, having the latest and greatest features on a game system is simply not as important as it is for younger consumers, he says. "I don't know that new features are a compelling selling point for them," he tells Marketing Daily. "The recession may also play a part."

On March 27, the Wii's index score was 32.3 (on a scale that rates between negative 100 and positive 100, with a score of zero meaning equal parts of good and bad feedback) among 35- to-49-year-olds. By May 28, the Wii's index had dropped to 20.3.

Similarly, both Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation 3 also dropped in terms of value. In March, the Xbox had a score of 6.7, dropping to 2.0 by late May; the Playstation 3 had an index score of 6.8, and fell to 1.6.

But the E3, which begins today, could help build buzz for all of the systems, if press coverage is favorable and significant product and product-enhancements are made, Marzilli says. And assuming they resonate with consumers. If they don't, the only way these console makers will be able to increase value perception is by cutting prices, Marzilli says.

"If you were the game manufacturers, you need to introduce something compelling and give [consumers] a reason to buy," Marzilli says. "Or, going into the holiday season, there will be pressure to reduce prices."



Video-Game Marketers Try to Avert Midlife Crisis for Consoles

As Sales Fall for Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Companies Plan New Products, Broaden Marketing

YORK, Pa. ( -- The most recent round of video-game consoles is hitting middle age, and marketers are trying to fend off the proverbial midlife crisis with new products and an increasing focus on the non-gaming functions of their consoles.

As the gaming customer base ages, the $1.83 billion console market, led by Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, fell for two consecutive months for the first time ever, 18% in March and 8% in April vs. the same months last year, according to NPD. While industry insiders and analysts said the economy and a lack of strong software titles in those months played a big role in the sales falloff, they also agreed that marketing and business strategy needs to shift as consoles age. All three brands are reaching the middle points in their life cycles, some three years or more after their debuts. (Xbox 360 launched in fall 2005 and the other two in fall 2006.)

...Leading up to the seminal industry conference E3, which begins next week, all three consoles are getting a buzz lift from pre-conference media coverage and company announcements ahead of the event. PlayStation 3 ranks highest in buzz among men and women overall, while Xbox is stronger among the 50-plus set and among men 18 to 34, said Ted Marzilli, global managing director of BrandIndex at consumer polling service YouGov.