EEDAR, an NPD Group Company has taken a look at the changing demographics of Switch owners. They looked at the early adopters (Q2 2017) and compared them to life-to-date owners (Q4 2018) and have revealed that the user base has shifted from only 30% female to 50%. Take a look at some of their findings:
The Nintendo Switch has been on the market for over a year now, and one interesting trend EEDAR has observed over time is the shift when comparing the current demographic makeup of all owners versus that of early adopters. PlayerPulse’s design allows us to see changes in gender, age, investment, and engagement with content, and the shift has been drastic. Let’s take a look at the Nintendo Switch’s first quarter contrasted against performance this most recent holiday season.
The early demographic for the Switch was heavily skewed, with males accounting for 70% of the player base. Over time this has shifted over to an almost 50/50 split between males and females, much more in line with what you would expect from console player bases from the PS4 and Xbox One. In fact, the Switch skews slightly more towards females than either of the other two consoles, which have averaged a 55% male split. Ages for initial Switch owners skewed towards people in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Later, demographics would begin to skew both younger and older, suggesting that families and younger people (with little disposable income) were not as quick to adopt the platform right away.
So what else can we tell about these early adopters, and what sets them apart from the later buyers? For one, we can look at their investment in gaming through how much they play and how much money they spend on gaming.
As one might expect, early owners of the Nintendo Switch are significantly more invested in console gaming in general, with almost 60% of early Switch owners averaging 11 hours or more of console/PC play time every week. These early Switch adopters were also more likely to spend money on their gaming hobbies, with 79% of early adopters spending $100 dollars or more on gaming each year, compared to 63% of total Switch owners today.
This helps us learn more about who these early adopters are. They’re male, they’re of working age, and they have the disposable income and time to invest in their hobby. These are the people that want to buy a new gaming device as soon as it’s out. What else can we learn about them? There’s a few ways to dive into this data, but let’s look at their engagement. What are they doing and what are they into?
Other metrics in PlayerPulse help to fill in the picture of how time has shifted the Switch’s player base from people heavily invested in gaming and core experiences to a broader audience. The original Switch adopters were much more involved with video creation for sites like YouTube and Twitch, again highlighting their heavy investment in their gaming hobby. We can also take a look at what they were playing on consoles and PC. We see a core audience heavily invested in mature experiences like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Fallout 4. Some of those experiences have fallen off, replaced by more family-friendly ones. Minecraft is the top experience shared by Switch Players going into 2019, and that trend is continued with other family-friendly games like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate selling incredibly well.
The Switch’s story of a demographic shift from the original core audience to its current broader audience is interesting, although not entirely unique, as each platform has had its own demographic movement through its lifecycle. As new consoles are released in the coming years, we look forward to showing the unique trends and shifts with PlayerPulse. We’re especially curious to see how different branding, price points, and marketing efforts change the way these demographic shifts occur. Anyone can make their own predictions, but we look forward to telling the true story with our data.