At an investor Q&A, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata commented upon the growth of the social acceptance of videogames in the entertainment sector. Four data slides were presented as part of his company’s findings on the subject.
The first one, from July 2009, compares people in Tokyo and Osaka’s outlook on videogames as compared to television and other forms of entertainment:
You’ll notice that, in the case of games, the “like it so-so” sentiment appears to be the most common. However, it also illustrates that over 25% of the population appears not to be interested in games at all, or undecided on their stance toward them.
The second graph is equally interesting. This one illustrates the shift in Japan’s gaming population over the last five years, by conducting interviews in Tokyo and Osaka with over 3,000 people, similar to the first graph.
Active users are people that presently play games. Sleep users are those that used to play on older systems such as the Super Famicom, but no longer indulge in games. Non-users are people that have never played games.
You’ll note the number of active users in Japan peaked during 2008 at 57%, then adopted a downward trend until 2010. Iwata believes that the rise in 2010 can be largely attributed to the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
But this data is for Japan. What about the U.S.? While information for that territory was significantly harder to gather, due to a greater disparity in wages across territories, Nintendo managed to put together a similar chart going back to 2007.
Note that the number of sleep users (the Yellow bar) is rather small in the case of the U.S. This means that most people either play games actively, or don’t play at all. This is in contrast to Japan, where the ratio of sleep users is far higher, indicating that Japanese people tend to play games for a shorter period of time after purchasing them.
In the U.S., the number of active users has shown continuous growth since 2007. As of March 2010, the peak is at 62%. According to Nintendo, that figure can be divided up into two segments: 43% that game on the DS / Wii, and 18% that game on other systems.
Images sourced from Nintendo’s investor relations site.