Nielsen: Games Account for 5 Percent of U.S. Entertainment Budgets

Across all U.S. households, video games account for 4.9 percent of monthly entertainment spending - to 2.8 percent for CDs and mp3s - according to recent Nielsen research. Among households that are active game buyers, the figure is 9.3 percent.

It's important to note this is not a whole-dollar measurement - it does not mean Americans spend more on games than music. But it does indicate consumer preference, based on how they perceive the allocations of their money.

Game-buying households - defined as those spending more than $1 a month on game-related content - comprise 24 percent of U.S. households. Their habits "paint a picture of valuable, tech-savvy entertainment consumers," Nielsen writes. They're more likely to buy DVD/Blu-ray movies, video-on-demand, go to movies, sports and other live events. Interestingly, these choices "come at the expense of more established media options like basic cable and print media."

If you're wondering what the leading entertainment budget categories were, a general category of "participating in activities such as dining out, shopping, going to a museum" led overall with 24.8 percent of a family's spending. Regular television packages, such as basic cable, came in second at 17.9 percent.

Video Games Score 5% of U.S. Household Entertainment Budget
[Nielsen. Graphic by Nielsen.]