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Serious Gamers Younger Than Expected

by Rainier on Sept. 19, 2006 @ 5:46 a.m. PDT

NPD Group's Video Gamer Segmentation Report reveals that, contrary to popular belief, most video game players, and particularly "serious" video game players, are 18- to 34-year-old males, 45 percent of the NPD Heavy Gamer segment and nearly one-in-three Avid Console Gamers, the largest overall segment, are between the ages of six and 17.

The report, which identifies six gamer segments - Heavy Gamers, Avid Console Gamers, Mass Market Gamers, Prefer Portable Gamers, Secondary Gamers, and Infrequent Gamers - provides deep insight into gamer segments by key behavioral and demographic metrics to better target relevant segments for sales and marketing. The report defines the platforms, titles, genres, and retailers that are attracting various types of consumers, to inform product development strategies and to identify opportunity gaps while leveraging areas of strength.

According to the report, Heavy Gamers' demographic/gender parameters also expand beyond 18- to 34-year-old males: 21 percent of this segment is female. The Heavy Gamer segment comprises only 3 percent of the total game playing population, contrary to common assumption that these serious gamers constitute a larger percentage of the game-playing population and retail sales dollars.

"Heavy gamers can be critical to a title or retailer's success since they are the market leaders, but focusing on this segment entirely is ignoring a much broader consumer base and larger revenue potential," said Anita Frazier, entertainment industry analyst, The NPD Group.

Those in the Prefer Portable segment may also be older than previously thought. While the majority of these gamers are under 18 years of age, one in three is 18-44 years old.

"NPD is excited to finally bring a measured approach to gamer segmentation and is looking forward to releasing future updates and shedding more light on this important topic," said Frazier.

The report divides gamers into relevant segments by the number and type of systems owned, whether or not consumers are primary or secondary users, frequency of use, and the number of titles purchased/received. It provides a better understanding of ownership and usage patterns within gamer segments, as well as specific platforms, titles, genres, and retailers.

The data in this report was collected via an online survey using NPD's robust U.S. consumer panel. The sample is comprised of 16,670 respondents ages six to 44. Panelists who currently own video game systems (portable and console) were targeted.

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