Top motivator for buying a PS3 is still Blu-ray

Blu-ray is the most common factor people consider when buying a Playstation 3, according to new market research from Nielsen.

The group surveyed 700 “active gamers,” ages 7 through 54, who showed interest in buying Sony’s latest gaming console within the next six months. The PS3’s Blu-ray capability was the most frequently mentioned motivating factor, at 65 percent of respondents. Only 12 percent said they were buying the console with a specific game in mind, which is surprising because Nielsen conducted the survey during the launch of the smash hit God of War III.

There is a distinction to be made here: Nielsen isn’t saying most people buy a Playstation 3 mainly for the Blu-ray player. The research simply shows that among the many factors people consider when buying a game console, Blu-ray was considered most often. Respondents to the survey were allowed to choose more than one factor.

Top motivator for buying a PS3 is still Blu-ray

With that in mind, the results aren’t as shocking as they initially seem. Blu-ray movie support is a distinct advantage that the Playstation 3 enjoys over the Wii and Xbox 360, so of course people are going to consider it. The only reason you wouldn’t is if you had little to no interest in watching Blu-ray movies on the console. And actually, to look at the research a different way, 35 percent of people didn’t factor in Blu-ray at all when considering the PS3.

The other top factors are common sense: 63 percent of people surveyed said Sony’s price cuts — to $300 with the PS3 Slim last fall — were a motivator, and 62 percent said they liked the Playstation 3’s catalog of games. To that point, you can’t just say that console exclusives such as God of War III don’t matter, because gamers likely take into account lots of games, exclusive and otherwise. As they should — it’s silly to buy a console for one specific game.

In other words, what Nielsen’s survey has really shown is that PS3 prospective buyers are shopping smart.