A new report has found that the number of gamers playing games online has continued to increase over the past year. According to NPD Group, 72% of U.S. gamers play online, up from 67% in 2012. Not only are more gamers connecting to the Internet, but they are also spending more time playing games in general. The average amount of time spent each week on gaming has gone up 9%, and for online play, it has increased 6%.
“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 at 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.”
The PC is still the most popular device for online gaming, accounting for 68% of the market, however smartphones and tablets are “quickly catching up.” In fact, mobile devices saw a 12-point increase in online gaming since last year and usage is expected to continue to rise in the coming years.
NPD’s press release follows below.
THE NPD GROUP: REPORT SHOWS INCREASED NUMBER OF ONLINE GAMERS AND HOURS SPENT GAMING
PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, May 2, 2013 – 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.