Family Gamers: An Untapped Market for Games Hardware Manufacturers and Subscription Services?
Many game publishers market their products to young gamers and adults alike. But what about the segment that intersects the two? Family gamers (gamers who live in a household where kids and adults game together) present a massive opportunity for game companies. In the video- and music-streaming spaces, the biggest companies are already appealing to the family market. Netflix and Spotify, for example, both offer subscription options that allow for multiple users on one account. Our Game Brand Tracker shows that in 68% of households that have children, the children and adults play games together (in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K.). This is a huge segment for games companies to tap into. Nintendo has always marketed consoles to these families. Most recently, it did this with the Wii and now the Switch — two of the industry’s fastest-selling consoles in the U.S. and beyond.
“In 68% of households that have children, the children and adults play games together”
Now, it makes sense for the rest of the games industry to follow suit. Thanks to the ever-growing number of subscription services, the time to strike is now. After all, 29% of the total population in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. live in a household where children and adults play games together. And the segment is more likely to be invested in the industry, its games, its subscription services, and more. Looking at gamers specifically, an impressive 80% live in a household where adults and kids game together.
Family Gamers More Invested in the Industry, More Likely to Subscribe
Compared to all gamers, family gamers are more devoted to all aspects of the industry. They are more likely to spend money — across all game platforms. For example, 11% of family gamers are big spenders on mobile games, compared to 7% of all gamers; 20% are big spenders on console games, compared to 17% of all gamers; and 16% spend big on PC, compared to 12% of all gamers.
Family gamers in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. aren’t just more likely to spend more on games, they also play more genres. When we asked people which genres they typically play, family gamers selected twice as many as all gamers. Also, family gamers are likelier to play every genre included in our survey — apart from puzzle, casual, and casino games. This suggests they play and expose themselves to a higher number of game types and are more likely to be core gamers.
Xbox Game Pass is more popular among the segment. This is unsurprising, as the service gives Xbox One users access to a library of diverse games/genres for a single monthly subscription. In fact, 14% of family gamers are actively subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, compared to 8% of all gamers. The subscription, boasting access to Xbox-exclusive titles on day one of release, already appeals to family gamers. But if the Xbox brand caters to the segment even more — with an all-in-one family plan, for example — it may start closing the gap between itself and the console market’s current leader, PlayStation. At E3 2018, Microsoft confirmed it will enter the cloud gaming space, and rumors point to Google doing the same. An opportunity lies ahead if these two tech giants can incorporate families into their subscription offerings for these services.
EA launched EA Access exclusively for Xbox One in 2014, giving subscribers access to part of EA’s games catalog, as well as try-before-you-buy access to new titles. Like with Xbox Games Pass, family gamers are more likely to subscribe compared to all gamers (15% vs. 9%). According to data from our Game Brand Tracker, family gamers are likelier to have played EA’s FIFA, Madden NFL, and Battlefield titles in the past six months. All these franchises are currently available via EA Access, meaning a family plan may further attract the segment to the service.
Family gamers in France, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. are also more likely to subscribe to services that allow for console online play. For instance, 25% of family gamers and 16% of all gamers are currently subscribed to PlayStation Plus. Meanwhile, 23% of family gamers and 15% of all gamers subscribe to Xbox Live Gold. Again, a family option would be beneficial. Historically a family-focused business, Nintendo has already realized the potential here. The company offers a family membership(for up to eight people) as part of its new paid Nintendo Switch Online service. And it is striving to implement cross-platform play on the console.
The Value of Cross-Platform Play and Cloud Saves for Family Gamers
Cross-platform play, which allows gamers to play with/against others on another platform, is a hot topic in the industry right now. Battle royale phenomenon Fortnite features cross-platform play, but Sony initially made the business decision to disable it between PlayStation and other consoles. These restrictions drew much fire from critics and players alike, eventually leading Sony to change its stance and allow Fortnite cross-platform play. Overall, 31% of family gamers and 25% of all gamers find cross-platform play important, while 21% of family gamers and 14% of all gamers find it very important. Sony can appeal to all gamers via opening up cross-platform capabilities for even more titles, but family gamers would especially appreciate it.
What’s more, 36% of family gamers and 30% of all gamers think it is important to be able to play the same game/save file on different devices, and 23% of family gamers and 18% of all gamers think it’s very important. This has some implications for Nintendo. Although the company recently introduced cloud saves (for the first time in company history) for its Nintendo Switch Online service, the feature isn’t yet available for all the platform’s titles. Nintendo can solidify its already great reputation as a family-centric company if it continues to improve cloud-saving options.
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