Guns, Guitars, and Getting in Shape:
Game Genre Preference Across Platforms
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Published January 2010. © 2010 Interpret, LLC
Guns, Guitars, and Getting in Shape: Game Genre Preference Across Platforms
Catalyst: New types of games thrived in 2009, including both young genres (Music-Rhythm) and brand-
new ones (Fitness). How do gamers divide their attention among various game types, and which types
are gaining—or losing—popularity?
• What type of games are console owners playing on their various systems?
• How have recently popular game genres (Music-Rhythm, Fitness) affected the overall
distribution of preference among both “core” and comparatively casual gamers?
• Are there any indications of how genre preference will continue to evolve in 2010?
Interpret Insight: Preferences in game genre between gaming’s traditional “core” audience and the
expanded audience of Nintendo Wii owners and PC-based casual game players remains one of the
foremost fixtures of the video game marketplace, and sets the stage for the motion-control competition
of the 2010 holiday season.
Console Ownership Reveals Distinct Genre Preferences
Nintendo Wii’s success in attracting an “expanded, untraditional” audience, in contrast to Sony
PlayStation 3’s “hardcore” owner base (with the Xbox 360 somewhere in between), results in
demographic and behavioral differences for game publishers, developers, and the manufacturers of the
consoles themselves. However, rather than examine demographic differences between consoles (with
Wii owners trending female and older, the PS3 trending decisively male, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360
trending younger and slightly male) and simply assume these differences translate directly into
dissimilar tastes in video games, it is valuable to look directly at the breakdown of game genres played
and preferred by the owners of these consoles.
If one examines genre exposure—that is, the percentage of gamers who report playing various genres of
games—among the four principal gaming platforms (Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PS3, and PC), striking
differences emerge (fig. 1). Among gamers who prefer the Nintendo Wii most (or who own only a Wii),
only four game genres are played by 30 percent of owners or more: Exercise, Casual, Party, and Music-
Rhythm games. Further, the difference even among these three genres is significant: a full 45 percent of
Wii owners report playing Fitness/Exercise games in late 2009, compared with only 31 percent for
Music-Rhythm games and 30 percent for Party games. Fitness/Exercise games have dramatically risen
over the course of 2008/2009 to become the most preferred genre (as opposed to those who ever play
that type of game) on the Wii, with nearly half of owners that play Exercise games also preferring them
as their favorite type of game.
In contrast with Wii owners, a much greater variety of game genre exposure is witnessed among those
who prefer PS3 (or sole-owners). A full nine genres are played by 30 percent or more of owners,
including First-Person Shooters (50 percent), Action-Adventure games (43 percent), and Traditional
Sports Games (40 percent). The remaining genres played by over 30% of PS3 owners include Racing and
Music-Rhythm games, among others. Notably, only one of these genres—Music-Rhythm games—is
shared with the Wii. The other eight genres with high exposure among PS3 owners do not rank at, or
even near, the top of the list of most-played genres among Wii owners. Although PS3 preferrers play a
variety of games, preference is concentrated among two: 17 percent of PS3