Boys Shunning Toys to Play Video Games

The NPD Group has published a report that confirms and adds detail to a view that many have held for some time: non-video game toys are losing the battle for our children’s time and attention.

This is particularly evident with older boys from ages 9 to 12 – they show a marked tendency to move away from traditional toys to playing video games. Girls seem to spend about the same time on toys and video games – but as they get older, they tend to find interests away from video games.

According to the report, the average time children among the ages of 5 to 12 spend playing video games is 4.2 hours per week, with one-third (32 percent) of boys and only 10 percent of girls playing more than six hours per week. Nearly half of the children in the study began playing video games between the ages of 4 and 5, with 20 percent beginning at age 3 or younger.

“Video games demand the attention of toy manufacturers who want to understand their implications to play time with traditional toys,” said Michael Redmond, senior industry analyst, The NPD Group. “For toy manufacturers, determining how to leverage the ‘power’ of video games in order to take advantage of their popularity through different marketing tactics is essential. By researching which types of video games are most popular among children, toy manufacturers can discover new licensing opportunities.”

Categories that are suffering are ones that previously had a very strong grip on the boys’ market – action figures, building toys, puzzles and vehicles. This has been demonstrated by poor sales by companies specialising in toys these areas, with the Lego Company being a high profile victim.

Indeed, my own Lego collection has been sadly neglected since I picked up Eve, though I might dust some off later. To make a Minmatar Tempest, obviously.

More on the NPD report

LUGNET – the Lego Users group

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?