93% of Kiwi households now own a device for playing games and nearly four in five parents with kids play computer and video games. The Digital New Zealand 2012 report sampled 846 households/2428 people to produce a snapshot of the consumer side of gaming.
Challenging a few gamer stereotypes, the report claims the average age of a gamer to be 33, that 47% are female, and that 69% play for less than an hour at a time.
The report also referenced longstanding dissatisfaction with internet speeds in NZ. Even though the report noted that 70% of NZ internet users get ADSL, one in four gamers said they “would either be “motivated” or “very motivated” to sign up to a faster broadband service for game downloads and online play.” However, as people who struggle to run online games know, speed is not the only issue. Routers, modems, connection security and integrity, port forwarding and ISP policy on traffic management can all screw up the gaming experience.
When it comes to how we purchase, the internet speed issue was again apparent, with only 24% of games bought via download rather than as physical purchases. Given the growth in mobile games, which are only available via download, it represents slow development of that method of sale. There is a certain irony to that, given that the games industry has been much more successful than the film and TV industries in developing ways to copy protect games and reduce piracy.
Despite all that potential grief, Kiwis spent $158 million on game hardware (Playstations, Kinects, NDS, etc) and software (games) in the last year, a spend predicted to rise to over $190 million over the next four years. It’s a paltry contribution to projected global spend of $90.1 billion by 2015.
On the upside, NZ game developers take a slice of that pie, although there aren’t as yet any figures to assess how big a slice. According to NZ Game Developers Association’s Stephen Knightly, there is the equivalent of 350 full-time workers in the industry here, and the very good news is that the number is up 100 on last year.