New research from NPD and Nielsens reveals some fairly interesting information on how Americans spend their free time, and the results might surprise you. On the gaming front, 63 percent of Americans reported having played some form of video game within the past six months, while only 43 per cent admitted to having gone to see a movie in the theatre. This bodes well for the gaming industry which reported that consumers now spend roughly one third of their entertainment budget on games, which equates to about $38 per person per month on average for content.
On the video front, Neilsen has released a separate study that shows online video might not be as big a threat as the major TV networks are letting on. Despite the rapid rise in online video viewing, consumers on average only watched about three hours per month via the Internet. That is up an hour from the results last year, but still only represents about 1.1 percent of total video consumption, which is totally dominated by traditional TV.
The other interesting statistic is that when it comes to video, apparently we are now watching more TV than ever before. The average American now consumes about 153.5 hours of TV per month, which works out to over 5 hours per day. This study excludes non-legitimate video sources such as peer to peer networks, but includes numbers pulled from Hulu, You Tube, and many other online video sites. Want to read the whole study? Click the link to read the whole report.
Most enterprises have resolved to skip Windows Vista altogether. With Vista on its way out, Microsoft would be hoping for enterprises to upgrade to Windows 7 at the first given opportunity. However, Microsoft will have to wait as that is exactly what most enterprises plan on doing. A large majority of enterprises have decided against upgrading next year, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research.
Dimensional Research took the opinion of 1,100 IT professionals. More than 83 percent of those surveyed have no plans of upgrading next year. The ongoing recession and doubts over software compatibility are the main reasons why most businesses want to play the wait-and-watch game.
According to an survey conducted by the Computing Research Association, the number of majors and pre-majors in American computer science programs was up 6.2 percent from 2007. This marks the first time in six years that enrollment in computer science has increased.
"This could be a sign that we are beginning to make headway as well as increased attention, increased interest, and increased investment," said Andrew A. Chien, director of research at Intel.
Since the dot-com implosion starting in 2000, the field has seen a startling decline, leading some to warn about the effect it would have on the nation's ability to compete in the global economy. But in the past few years, there has been much effort to allay potential students' fears that computer science entails little more than sitting cooped up in front of a PC banging out code. That has helped lead to a 9.5 percent increase in the number of new undergraduate majors in computer science, and cut the decline in new bachelor's degrees from 20 percent to 10 percent.
Despite the increase, computer science remains of most interest to men, at least according to enrollment and graduation figures. Women accounted for a consistent 11.8 percent of computer science bachelor degrees in 2008.
PC gaming isn’t dead; it’s merely waiting for the day conditions are finally right for its return. Like Jesus! However, it looks like Our Lord and Savior (or incarnation of your particular religion’s greatest evil – you know, whichever) is posting a Craig’s List bulletin searching for a new pal for Friday night card games, because PC gaming’s “return” is nigh.
Finally, someone – in this case, fractiously monikered gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun – has conducted a semi-official survey of PC gamers’ buying habits. The result? RPS discovered that, of the 2,000 keyboard warriors interrogated, 93% have digitally purchased at least one PC game in the past 12 months, 71% bought more than four games digitally, and, through some flashy mathematics, that 47% of all PC purchases in 2008 were digital.
Assuming that RPS’ findings are more or less accurate, this means NPD’s figures would nearly need to be doubled before hitting the mark.
Despite a struggling economy, the worldwide PC market continues to grow, which is largely the result of mini-notebooks. The immense popularity in low-cost netbooks has also favored Intel, whose Atom CPUs contributed to record growth in the processor market in Q3 2008. But are consumers truly happy buying underpowered ultraportable PCs? According to a study by Biz360, an information-services company, customer satisfaction is falling short of the sales growth.
"The results of the analysis indicate that there is a lot of opportunity for improvement across the board for Netbook products," Biz360 concludes. "Netbook manufacturers also face a significant challenge with consumers whose expectations are based on years of desktop pc usage."
Surprisingly, Biz360 found that Acer ranks lowest in Net Advocacy (Biz360's proprietary metric that factors the positive and negative sentiment of individual comments), despite being the top seller in Q4 2008. Acer's Aspire one series had a 34 percent lower Net Advocacy than the average for all laptop brands.
Not so suprisingly, the number one complaint against netbooks has to do with performance, in which Biz360 found opinions to be "predominately negative."
Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee mod made the whole concept of transitioning from dinner and dancing to bedroom antics seem way too easy. Now it appears it might be harder to take that relationship to the next level, according to a new survey which suggests women prefer the internet to having sex.
The survey, which was commissioned by Intel, pinged 2,119 adults in an attempt to show how essential the internet has become, the Wall Street Journalreports. What Intel found is that 46 percent of women would rather put their sex drive on hold for two weeks than to go without internet access for that long. And it's not just older females who feel that way. According to the survey, 49 percent of women aged 18-34 feel the same way, compared to 52 percent of women aged 35-44.
Not surprisingly, the numbers are somewhat lower for men. About 30 percent of men said they'd rather go without sex for two weeks than internet access, but unlike women, that number goes down as the age goes up. Some 39 percent of men aged 18-34 prefer the internet to sex, but only 23 percent of men aged 35-44 feel the same way.
Hit the jump and tell us which you would rather give up for two weeks.
There are a few things you can count on happening every Thanksgiving holiday. Eating too much turkey and pumpkin pie? That's a given. Arguing with the in-laws? Only if they're invited. Watching the Detroit Lions lose to ____ (fill in the blank, as the opposing team is irrelevant to the outcome)? You can count on it. And finally, should you decide to venture out on Black Friday, encountering a horde of shoppers more frightening than anything you're likely to encounter in Left 4 Dead? That's an understatement.
But while the pushing and shoving and the sheer number of shoppers isn't likely to let up, the spending just might. According to a new survey by international management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, the outlook for technology and media sales looks pretty grim as six out of ten U.S. consumers plan to cut back spending (PDF).
Desktop PCs, notebooks, media players ,and digital cameras look to the take the biggest hit, with over half of the survey's respondents saying they plan to spend less on such devices in the next year, resulting in a 10 percent drop in sales. Oliver Wyman notes that promotional pricing would increase unit sales, but it wouldn't be enough to justify broad discounts.
"Price discounts should be used cautiously and targeted at on-the-fence purchaser segments when used," Wyman analyst Mark Teitell said. "There's a risk of cannibalizing revenue from consumers already intending to make the purchase, without drawing sufficient new buyers to increase revenues overall."
The survey warns that consumers are being selective in where they pull back, such as delaying the purchase of an electronic device rather than downgrading a subscription service, such as broadband internet or a mobile phone data plan. With that in mind, those tantalizing sale prices might not come as often next year. That almost makes you want to brave the crowds on Black Friday. Almost.
Sorry this post is so late. On the way to our computer, we were mobbed by women, had to refuse a couple marriage proposals, and were forced to drum up conversations with a few people who actually weren't my mom. But it's ok! Because according to a recent study by IGN Entertainment and Ipsos Media CT, this sort of thing happens to you guys all the time (even without the ability to flash Maximum PC blogger credentials), so you probably understand.
The study corralled 3,000 participants and discovered, foremost, that gamers no longer display aesthetic symptoms typical of vampirism -- casting aside their dimly lit basements and blanched-white skin to bask in the company of other people. But here's the kicker: apparently gamers, in between playing games, find more time for their social outings than non-gamers.
For example, the study noted that gamers are 13% more likely to frequent movie theaters, 11% more likely to throw down in real life sports, and 9% more likely to kick back with friends than non-gamers. But it gets better.
See, we make more money too. Our deft reflexes, calloused thumbs, and superlative interloping abilities snag, on average, $79,000 per year, while non-gamers are forced to make do with $54,000. (Note: average income was not calculated to include money spent on gamers' hedonistic gaming and movie-going habits.)
And of course, everyone loves us, since dropping a pebble into our wells of knowledge wouldn't yield a splash for years. As such, 37% of those surveyed said friends and family look to them for entertainment advice, and 39% said they assist acquaintances with tech and gadgets.
So, if the cool kids are still beating you up out by the monkey-bars, you're in the minority. In fact, a large portion of us are probably helping administer the mega wedgie-swirly combos. What? We get bored.
A new survey conducted by Zeugma Systems reveals that more than 8 out of 10 U.S. broadband customers disapprove of having their bandwidth capped with fees for going over a predetermined limit. Judging by the comments in previous news stories we've run on the subject, it's the same sentiment shared by many Maximum PC readers. But unlike the latter, 83 percent of those polled also were clueless about what a gigabyte is or much bandwidth they're currently consuming. Despite the lack of information, just over half of the respondents claimed they would switch service providers if their ISPs implemented a broadband cap.
"These results are both an opportunity and a warning for BSPs," said Kevin Walsh, Zeugma Systems vice president of marketing. "The opportunity is that consumers are signaling a willingness to pay more for dedicated bandwidth over and above basic high speed internet for such services as premium internet video, VOIP, gaming, and corporate VPN access. The warning is a clear distaste for bandwidth caps. At a minimum, providers moving forward with bandwidth capping schemes may want to consider a more intelligent and flexible application of caps.”
Today marks the beginning of Comcast's 250GB cap, which has drawn ire from those who fear it might not be enough, particularly as HD streaming moves to the forefront of digital distribution. But if this latest poll is any indication, the cap size may not even matter to the majority of subscribers, it's the fact that there's a cap in place to begin with. That perception may prove to be an even bigger challenge than trying to convince subscribers that 250GB is a lot of bandwidth.
Newsflash: The internet can be pretty damned groovy. So much so that Australian men are finding happiness from being online, whether it means fragging with buddies or getting neck-deep in social networking sites. But is the internet gender specific?
According to the "Happiness Index" study, which surveyed over 8,500 Aussies ranging in age from 18 on up to 64, more than half of the male respondents find happiness by surfing the web, whereas only 39 percent of women respondents felt the same way, instead preferring family time.
"This index gives insight into the way we tick, with the results being useful to Australian businesses who want to better communicate with their customers," said Karen Phillips, managing director of The Leading Edge, who conducted the survey.
So what else did the survey reveal? How about that more men (48 percent) than women (40 percent) find happiness between the sheets, or that more women than men prefer reading a book and eating comfort food.