HOT TOPICS: Is the kids games market dead?

In the fifth of a series of features answering the biggest questions about the industry’s future, Christopher Dring shatters the myths behind the shrinking children’s sector

Is the kids games market dead?

During the PS2’s era, licensed kids games were the hottest properties.

And with the likes of Finding Nemo and Rugrats, THQ was the king of the market.

Fast-forward ten years, and THQ has exited the kids games space entirely. Kids have been a declining market for years,” the publisher’s CEO Brian Farrell said earlier this year.

THQ?feels that children have packed away their consoles in favour of browser games like Moshi Monsters or mobile titles such as Angry Birds.

Yet according to Turner Media Innovations, 50 per cent of kids aged five to 12 said they couldn’t live without console games. So, if not THQ’s games, what are they playing?

Kids of younger and younger ages are playing older and older games,” says D3P producer Brian Etheridge who is working on the Madagascar 3 game.

They’re getting more violent products. But if you have an IP that has endearing characters and comedy, then it is something parents want to buy kids.”

Kids are playing FIFA, Halo, maybe Call of Duty. Some of the finest games. It is no wonder they don’t want to play rubbish Spongebob platformers.

For a kids game to succeed, publishers need to create titles that can stand toe-to-toe with the Call of Dutys of this world. Activision has done just that with Skylanders, which has shifted 30m toys in six months.

The kids console games market may no-longer be a low-risk category, but it’s still a potentially lucrative one.


  • The kids are alright n 84 per cent of children (aged five to 12) have access to a console.
  • Kids use their consoles for other things. 32 per cent of children go on the internet via their console.
  • On average, kids play for about 1.5 hours a day on their consoles, which has remained constant for the past five years.
  • In 2011, 66 per cent of boys said they couldn’t live without games.
  • On average kids aged five to 12 receive 4.55 a week pocket money and 25 per cent of kids say they buy games with their pocket money.
  • Last year 24 per cent of kids received a console for Christmas and 30 per cent were bought a game.
  • Video games remain more popular than mobile phones and the internet for kids aged five to 12.

Source: Turner Media Innovations

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