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Games people play: console game ownership in Australia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), October 2014–September 2015 (n=15,668). Base: Australians 14+

Research reveal that 31.4% of Australians aged 14+ (more than 6.1 million people) own a console game, with the incidence of ownership almost double the national average among young Aussies from Generation Z. Ownership among Generations X and Y is also above average but drops dramatically among the Boomer generations*.

In the 12 months to September 2015, 61.8% of Generation-Z Australians reported owning at least one console game, well ahead of Generations Y (40.0%) and X (37.6%). Only 10.3% of Baby Boomers are console game-owners, while Pre-Boomers (1.8%) have yet to catch the console bug.

Console game ownership by generation


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Aust), October 2014–September 2015 (n=15,668). Base: Australians 14+

Owned by nearly half (47.1%) of all console-game owners, Wii Sports is by far the nation’s most popular console game, ahead of the Call of Duty franchise (36.9%) and Mario (33.0%).

Not surprisingly, different games hold varying levels of appeal for different generations. Looking at the most popular games among Generations X, Y and Z, we see that Wii Sports tops the list for console-game owners from Generation X (56.3% of whom own it!) and Gen Y (40.2%), while games-crazy Gen Z is more likely to own Call of Duty (48.1%).

Generation games: most popular console games among generations X, Y and Z


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014 – September 2015 (n=3,325). Base: Australians 14+ who own at least one console game

Although there is considerable crossover between each generation’s most widely owned games, it is interesting to see the inclusion of the Lego series in the Top 5 for Generation X but not for either of the others. Many of the games in Lego’s extensive range are based around iconic Gen-X movies such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman, which may go some way to explaining their popularity with this market.

Likewise, the Mario series of games often stars famous 1980s computer-game figures such as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers, which many Gen X gamers would have played when they were growing up. Another Mario regular is Sonic the Hedgehog, whose history dates back to the early 90s, thus spanning both generations X and Y.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Console games are enormously popular in Australia, with almost one third of Aussies 14+ owning at least one. Of the country’s 6.1 million console-game owners, only 500,000 belong to the Boomer generations. The rest belong to Generations X, Y and Z, all of whom have grown up with games of this nature (or at least their primitive precursors — Pacman, anyone?).

“Almost 2.9 million Australians own Nintendo’s Wii Sports -- nearly half of all console-game owners. With its five sport options (boxing, tennis, golf, baseball and bowling), and its hyper-sensitive motion-sensor capabilities, Wii Sports provides a very realistic experience for its participants – without any of physical sport’s rough’n’tumble! Given this country’s obsession with sport, Wii Sports was almost destined to succeed in the Australian market. It is worth noting, however, that Wii Sports owners tend to play it less frequently than owners of certain other games: only 7.0% play it at least daily, compared to the 13.2% of Assassin’s Creed owners who play at least daily.

“Call of Duty is second-most popular game overall (owned by just over 2.2 million people), and number one among Gen Z gamers. This fast-paced first-person shooter does not require long stints of concentration or in-depth strategy like some role-playing games (Assassin’s Creed for example) – ideal for students sneaking a quick game in between assignments, for example.

“While our data shows that certain games hold more appeal to Generation X than to Gens Y and Z, this generation tends to play much less frequently than its younger counterparts. It is likely that some feel they own the games (having purchased them) but their kids actually play them; while others may be too occupied with full-time jobs and family responsibilities to indulge very often. Their high ownership of Wii Sports also begs the question: does this time-pressed generation use it as a convenient alternative to ‘real-life’ exercise?

“With its in-depth and wide-ranging coverage of 50,000 respondents per annum, Roy Morgan’s Single Source data can provide retailers and brands with a holistic perspective on all the different groups making up Australia’s console games market – from demographics to attitudes, leisure activities to media consumption habits – allowing them to target consumers with greater accuracy and effectiveness.”

* Roy Morgan ‘Generations’ definitions:

Pre-Boomers — Pre 1946; Baby Boomers — 1946-1960; Generation X — 1961-1975; Generation Y — 1976-1990; Generation Z — 1991-2005.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%