Word of mouth among friends is the most significant factor in video game buying decisions -- or so gamers claim, according a new report by market research firm NPD.
Forty-one percent of gamers in the United States claimed they made purchases based on word of mouth, and 31 percent said they chose their games based on hands-on experiences with games owned by friends and family.
Meanwhile, only five percent claimed to be influenced by advertising, be it in print or online news sources, or by way of social networking. The company's sample size was nearly 21,000 gamers.
NPD also calculated gamer demographics, a frequently-studied area, and determined 24 percent of gamers -- the largest demographic group -- to be between the ages of 2 and 12. Nearly as many, 20 percent, were between 25 and 34, and 17 percent were between 34 and 44.
The overall demographic skews in favor of males, but not overwhelmingly so, with a majority of 56 percent.
In a section of the report measuring gamer ownership of multiple consoles, NPD found Wii owners to be the least likely to own another gaming system, not surprising given the system's comparatively high market share. Just over a quarter of Wii owners in the U.S. own an Xbox 360, and only 14 percent of them own a PlayStation 3.
Contrasting that figure, owners of the PlayStation 3 -- the least-common of the three consoles in the United States -- are the most likely to own another console. Slightly more than a third of them own an Xbox 360, while only 18 percent of Xbox 360 owners have a PlayStation 3.
But Wii ownership proves more ubiquitous -- 42 percent of both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners have one.
And Wii player habits turn out to be much in line with how they are frequently anecdotally reported: more than half of Wii owners say their most-played online games fall under the "card/puzzle/arcade/word" umbrella, while their favored offline genre is "family-oriented games." On the other hand, shooters are the most popular online genre on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with racing and action/adventure tied for preferred PS3 offline genre.
But there's something of a surprise on the Xbox 360, demonstrating Microsoft's all-ages push might be working: along with action/adventure games, Xbox 360's most popular offline genre is family-oriented gaming.