NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Though there have been hundreds of ads touting the latest in flat-screen televisions on sale, shiny new smartphones, smartwatches, fitness bands and even $99 Windows laptops battling for your holiday dollars, according to a new study, it's actually video games and consoles that children of all ages want to find under their Christmas trees, this year.
The latest Nielsen Games report found that kids (86%) and teens (70%) expressed what was termed "very strong interest" in owning at least one of the leading video game platforms in the next six months. That means Sony's (SNE) PlayStation 4, Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox One and Nintendo's (NTDOY) Wii U could be the top electronic holiday gifts in 2014.
During the recent Black Friday shopping rush, Xbox One sales was the best-selling video console that day garnering a reported 53% of the day's total sales. Microsoft was offering special bundles of hardware and games for $399. Sony's PlayStation 4 sales were far behind with 31%.
Sony shares were off 0.20% to $21.92 and Microsoft shares were down 0.6% to $48.17 in mid-morning trading in New York.
It's not surprising that the Nielsen (NLSN) study found 9 out of 10 children aged 6-12 say they play video games on any console or device and 88% of teens aged 13-17 years old said they played games as well. But, Nielsen says 62% of the adults they spoke with, 18 years old and up, admit they play video games. Of the adults that don't, 42% said they were interested in trying.
As for which platform everyone prefers 37% of children 6-12 want a PS4 and 37% want an Xbox One. Nintendo's Wii U isn't far behind at 33%. 36% of 13-17 year old teens want a Sony console and 35% want a Microsoft machine. Only 17% are waiting for a Wii U. As for adults, 21% says they're interested in a PS4, 18% in Xbox Ones and 12% vote for Nintendo's platform.
Of course, these are not the only items on holiday wish lists this year. The survey found that many "tech-savvy" kids also want to play their favorite video games on a new tablet computer. 31% are hoping to find a shiny, new iPad in their stockings on Christmas day while 26% would like a tablet made by another company. Teenagers desire iPads too (21%) but are much more focused (38%) on getting their hands on a new smartphone/iPhone this holiday season.
As for older kids, game consoles are nice but what they really want is a large-screened device that goes with them. 23% of adults 18-and older want what is known as a smart TV. That terminology includes everything from TVs with disk players inside to sets with Internet access which can handle computing tasks such as Web surfing, messaging, streaming audio and video, playing games and dealing with social media. Nielsen found that 28% of teens are interested in smart TVs too.
Nielsen concludes that the renewed interest in video games and consoles may also have another benefit for the industry. Researchers believe that a new breed of gaming devices which they term "microconcoles" will fuel new categories of handheld gaming. Devices such as Sony's PlayStation TV, Ouya and GameStick as well as smartphones of every kind will soon be seen as "viable gaming alternatives."
-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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