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Family gaming may be key in Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 wars

Published: 16:43, 27 September 2018
Collage of PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Even though chasing a target demographic helped many a game carve out a niche market, the latest research suggests that family gaming could very well be the key to higher profits, even to the extent of closing the still hefty Xbox - PS gap.

Households where kids and adults game together are a potential gold mine for gaming companies, according to market research firm Newzoo's latest report, which also indicates that family gamers are significantly more devoted to the gaming industry as a whole.

Family gamers have not only proven to be big spenders on console, PC and mobile games - they tend to play a wider variety of games than gamers who are not, according to Newzoo's data: "When we asked people which genres they typically play, family gamers selected twice as many as all gamers."

"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," Newzoo's report states.

 They're also more likely to invest into subscription services, for the obvious benefits of easy access and reduced individual cost - 25% of family gamers are currently subscribed to PlayStation Plus against 16% of all gamers.

The new research indicates that Xbox Game Pass is more popular among family gamers, a trend that Microsoft shouldn't ignore. Including an all-in-one family plan could significantly improve their fortunes and assist their attempts to catch up with Sony's PlayStation 4. If the company's cloud gaming business takes family gaming into account and throws in the right subscription packages, the next few years could see a major shift in the PS v. Xbox wars.

Once Microsoft's Play Anywhere program grows to encompass all the games available on the platform, its convenience and family budget implications are likely to tip the scales in Microsoft's favour. With 31 per cent of family gamers holding cross-play in high regard and 36 per cent of them hoping to be able to play their favourite games without platform restrictions, Microsoft would be foolish not to make this work in their favour.

Sony are not unaware of this and despite their age-old insistence on maintaining a closed-off platform, the company finally opened up the gates with Fortnite. Judging by the market's response, the gates are likely to turn into flood gates soon, which ultimately benefits gamers as a whole.

Nintendo Nintendo Wii Nintendo Wii, the little guy that could

Sony and Microsoft's hardware-centric struggle for dominance had left them flat-faced when the puny, one-gen-late Nintendo Wii kept beating them silly in retail for months and then years, which was a valuable lesson in the two's mindless hardware tussle.

Luckily for both though, Nintendo didn't know what to do with it and their clueless attempts to replicate this left the company in a heap of trouble that not even the Switch managed to fully repair. Make no mistake though - their fumble doesn't mean that the ball left the field - it's just a matter of in who'll pick it up first.

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