The NPD Group: report shows increased number of online gamers and hours spent gaming
According to Online Gaming 2013, the latest report from global information company, The NPD Group, 72 percent of U.S. gamers report gaming online. This represents an increase in incidence of 5 percentage points among gamers from 2012.
Along with the rise in online gaming, there was also an increase in the number of hours spent playing games across the majority of devices surveyed. This led to an overall increase in the average number of hours played per week for gaming overall, up 9 percent, and for gaming online, up 6 percent.
"Besides the size of the gaming audience and sales performance, one of the key metrics for the industry to watch is the time gamers spend playing games," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "This study found that the overall amount of time spent gaming, and time spent gaming online increased across virtually every type of device, and notably so, versus 2012."
Across all platforms measured in the report, the PC ranks as the top platform for online gaming with 68 percent reporting that they use a PC for online gaming. This represents a 4 percentage point decline over last year, and online gaming on mobile devices is quickly catching up. In fact, mobile devices saw a 12 percentage point increase in online gaming since last year.
Acquiring digital content seems like a behavior that would be preferred among online gamers, but when asked about purchasing a game in a physical or digital format where pricing and availability were consistent, 62 percent preferred games in the physical format. This is a 3 percentage point swing in preference towards the digital format when compared to last year.
"While many gamers prefer games in the physical format, the increased availability of digital content paired with a greater amount of connected devices has driven an increase in the number of consumers going online to access the content they want," said Callahan.
An online survey was fielded from February 15, 2013 to March 4, 2013 to members of NPD's online panel. The survey was completed by 8,867 individuals ages 2 and older. For children under the age of 16, respondents were contacted using a parental surrogate, with the parent being asked to bring the child to the computer to answer the survey questions.
Gamers were defined as those who currently personally play games on at least one of the systems/devices measured in the report. Online Gamers were defined as those who personally play games online on at least one of the systems/devices measured.