This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It's called gamer's thumb, and families in Salt Lake City could be among the nation's most afflicted: the city has been named No. 1 in the number of households owning video game systems.
Thirty-two percent of the households in Utah's capital city own video game systems, compared to 24 percent nationwide, according to a report released on Tuesday by Scarborough Research, a New York-based firm that measures America's shopping patterns.
The first-place title can be credited to Utah's demographics.
"When we profile video gaming households nationally, we find that these households are younger, and have presence of one or more children," said Deirdre McFarland, Scarborough's vice president of Marketing & Communications. "The same holds true for Salt Lake City."
Utah gamers would have to travel across the country to find households owning nearly as many video game systems. In the No. 2 spot with 30 percent of households owning such systems are Lexington, Ky., Flint, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio.
At the bottom of the list is the Florida coastal area of Fort Myers and Naples, with only 15 percent of all households bothering to buy gaming systems.
"Utahns are relatively higher educated and younger - and these are the people who play video games," said Hal Rushton, president of the South Jordan-based Saffire, Inc., scheduled to release its fantasy game titled "Cryptid," next year. "That's also why we have a fairly large number of video game companies in the Salt Lake Valley."
The No. 1 seller of audio/video for gaming households is Wal-Mart nationally. Some 33 percent of households nationwide that own a video game system have made a purchase there in the past year - a number that shoots up to 43 percent in Salt Lake City, according to the report.
Nationwide, Best Buy scores at 30 percent; Target 16 percent; Circuit City 15 percent; and Radio Shack 7 percent. Yet gaming households here are 82 percent more likely than their nationwide counterparts to make a purchase at Target and they're 49 percent more likely to have bought items at Best Buy, said the report.
Earlier this month, a report by The Nielsen Company indicated that the number of video game consoles in U.S. television households has expanded by 18.5% since the fourth quarter of 2004. By the fourth quarter of 2006 there were 45.7 million homes with video game consoles, representing 41 percent of all TV households, compared to 39 percent in 2005, and 35 percent the previous year.
The increase in both the number and the percentage of U.S. TV households with video game consoles is significant, given that the number of total television households has risen 1.6 percent during the same period.