Movie-based Video Games and the Households that Buy Them

Movie-based Video Games and the Households that Buy Them

Video games based on films provide fans an opportunity to enhance their movie experience by reliving the action firsthand. That trend continues this holiday season with recent releases of video games based on films such as Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and James Cameron’s Avatar. By examining households from Nielsen’s Homescan consumer panel that purchased at least one movie-based game over the past two years, we gain some insight into the types of consumers these products resonate with the most, and how these celluloid gamers compare to the average consumer of home entertainment and video games.

Most notably from a demographic standpoint, households that purchased a movie-based video game skewed strongly towards families with kids, even when compared to the average video game buying household. In particular, households with kids ages 6-12 represent the “sweet spot” for these products by over indexing the highest for having made a movie-based video game purchase. Movie-game buying households also tend to be more affluent, with incomes of $70K or higher. And non-Caucasian households, particularly Hispanic and Asian, over indexed the most among ethnicities for movie-game purchases compared to average video game buying households.

Examining the total amount spent on all video game software over the past two years revealed that the households purchasing a movie-based video game are heavy consumers of video games in general. In fact, those households spent nearly twice as much (index of 183) on the video game category overall than the average video game buying households.

When looking closer at the platform preference of these households, we find that households purchasing a movie-based game spend a larger proportion of their console video game expenditures on PlayStation platforms than the average video game buying households. PlayStation 3 in particular over indexes the most for this group. In terms of retail outlets, these consumers are slightly more likely to purchase a video game at a video game specialty store when compared to the average game buying household.

Movie-game Buyers Video Game Spend by Console
Console Index
PlayStation 3 117
PlayStation 2 104
Xbox 360 101
Wii 94
Source: The Nielsen Company

It stands to reason that households which purchase a movie-based video game would be avid consumers of DVDs in addition to video games, and the data examined suggests this theory holds true.


Two-thirds (67%) of all US households purchased a DVD in the past two years. While this proportion increases to 84.6% among all households that bought a video game during that same time period, the penetration of DVD purchasing is higher still among households that bought a movie-based video game at more than 9-in-10 (91.7%).

And not only are these households more likely to purchase DVDs, but on average they spend more on the overall DVD category per household as well. Households that purchased a movie-based video game spend nearly twice as much on the DVD category as the average DVD buying household.