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72% Of North America Plays Video Games

by Rainier on April 2, 2008 @ 10:18 a.m. PDT

According to The NPD Group’s recent 'Online Gaming 2008' report, analyzing consumers’ behavior, time and money spent in this market, overall participation in gaming rose in 2007, from 64% in 2006 to currently 72% of the of the population, with half of that playing games online.

The PC platform continues to be the driving force in online gaming, with 90 percent of online gamers stating they use a PC to play games online, 19 percent claiming they use a video game system (console or portable) and 3 percent claiming they use a cell phone.

Four out of 10 online gamers are ages 2-17, driven heavily by kids ages 6-12. Kids ages 2 to 12 are driving more than 25 percent of online gaming, while 18-24 year olds only represent 10 percent of online gaming.

Among those who use a video game system for online gaming, Xbox 360 is the top system used, with 50 percent stating they play games online via that system. On average, Xbox 360 owners spend the most time per week using their 360s to play games online, followed by PC and PS3 owners using these respective systems for online game play.

According to the report, 13 percent of online gamers spend 20 hours or more per week on online gaming. Per platform, 33 percent of portable online gamers, 29 percent of console online gamers and 13 percent of PC online gamers are in this heaviest online gaming group.

At this point in the lifecycle of today’s video game consoles, multiple console ownership is low, with only 3 percent reporting that they own two of the three “next-gen” systems and only 2 percent claiming to own all three systems.

“Despite the buzz in the industry regarding online gaming, it is still relatively small compared to offline gaming,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “There is still a large, untapped market for gaming in general and online gaming in particular.”

Data was collected via an online survey of 20,240 NPD Consumer Panel members ages 2 and older. Respondents age 2-12 were captured via surrogate reporting whereby the female parent (age 21-55) brings her child to computer to answer questions, either with or without parent’s assistance. In order to qualify as an online gamer, respondents had to use one or more of the following systems to play games online: Nintendo DS/DS Lite handheld system, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Sony PSP handheld system, Xbox, Xbox 360 or PC. Gamers overall (whether online or offline) were included in the study as well. Fieldwork was conducted from January 11 – February 5, 2008.

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