NPD: 72 percent of US are gamers

Industry-tracking group's annual survey finds 8 percent surge in number of respondents who play games; number of online gamers creeps up less significantly.

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[UPDATE 4/3] The NPD Group has since clarified some of the numbers issued in the following report, most notably saying that the 72 percent figure given only applies to the 6-44 age group, and that for all Americans age 2 and older, the actual number is 59 percent. [END UPDATE]

There's no shortage of anecdotal evidence that the recent casual gaming trend has brought new gamers into the fold, but the NPD Group today has added something empirical to back up conventional wisdom. As part of its Online Gaming 2008 report, the industry-tracking group found that 72 percent of respondents to a US survey reported playing games in some form, up from 64 percent the year before.

The report also found that online gaming was on the rise, although not quite as drastically. The NPD Group found that 42 percent of respondents play online games, up a more modest 2 percent from 40 percent the year before.

Among online gamers, 90 percent play on the PC, with 19 percent taking consoles online, and 3 percent using cell phones. The Xbox 360 was the most popular choice among online console gamers, with 50 percent of that group taking advantage of Microsoft's Xbox Live service. The Xbox 360 also showed the highest average amount of time played online among platforms, followed by the PC and PlayStation 3.

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

The survey also yielded a number of other findings. The NPD Group's findings showed that about half of online gamers are 25 or older. The group said 40 percent of online gamers are under 18, while the 18-24 age group holds only 10 percent of online gamers. Finally, the survey found ownership of multiple current-generation consoles is rare, with only 3 percent of respondents saying they owned two of the three major home systems, and 2 percent claiming to have all three.

The NPD Group collected its data from a survey of 20,240 NPD Consumer Panel members conducted from January 11 to February 5.

Discussion

79 comments
andyrae11
andyrae11

I doubt that. This whole story is full of holes.

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

The thing that I don't like about gamestop is the fact that when I get a new game it's actually 'used'. New = in it's origional shrink wrapped pack, not already opened and chilling in a drawer with other games. Open box = used and as thus should = lower price.

atrainvii
atrainvii

The only thing GameStop is guilty of is good business sense. Selling used games doesn't hurt anyone. Take a second to see look at this with some business and common sense. The retailer buys the game form the publisher on average pays 1/3 to ½ less than the listed price (MSRP). At this point the publisher makes its profits. The retailer then sells you the game at MSRP. Its at this point the retailer makes a profit. Now we as the customer for whatever reason no longer wants the game and decieds to sell the game. They are not going to pay you more than what they originally paid the publisher. Why should they? The game is no longer in its original condition and like when you buy a new car, as soon as you drive it off the lot it looses a lot of its original value. They will pay the fair market price minus the value loss and then sell it based on the games demand, their profit margin and the price they bought it for. The publisher doesn't lose anything because their profits are based on the initial one-time sale of the game. The retailer makes a profit doing what theyve always done, buying and selling games. Try taking the game to a pawn shop. Youll be luck if they offer you the same amount from GameStop. More than likely their offer would be less. If you want the publisher to make money off of used games, try selling yours back to the publisher, see if they'd buy it back. Why should they when they make the game and have guaranteed sales with retailers. Its business 101.

I buy used games all the time. I would rather wait a few weeks and pay $35 - $55 bucks on a game I was not sure about over paying $60 plus tax on a game Id want to get rid of a week later. Thats too much money to waste.

What you do with if retailers like GameStop didnt buy used games? Youd give them away or sell them for even less money to someone else. You'd lose a lot more money that way.

majidok
majidok

So PC gaming aint dead huh ? And its not going to in the near future . Good .

grigjd3
grigjd3

The bit about multiple current generation machines stood out to me. Then I thought about it some more. If you have a PS3 or a 360, there's not much reason to own the other one. There are very few games that are unique to one of those systems. Of course, the Wii has very different games (Galaxy, Brawl etc) not to mention a unique kind of controller so at first it surprised me that there weren't more people in the category of owning two systems. Then I thought about the scarcity of the Wii. The Wii is so hard to get and appeals to such a wider audience that many of the hardcore gamers - while they may like to have a Wii also, could easily have put it off for now in favor of either the PS3 or 360.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

With so many people paying for XBL, Microsoft SHOULD be able to lower the price some (sure $5/mth is cheap, but it could be cheaper). I really hope Sony and its developer come out with some stellar online games throughout the next two years that makes Microsoft re-evaluate their online strategy. They may have the best thing out there, but they are not pressured to do better until the competition becomes a threat. Didn't you see what happened to XBL after HOME was announced for the PS3?

therealamel
therealamel

Wow. I know I play for long hours on live but I always thought that it was still behind pc online playing, guess I was wrong

pourya_ahmadian
pourya_ahmadian

oh yah baby!the GREAT XBOX360;yah;you know,it is the best,you can trust me;everythings you want there is;this article show everyone that the GREAT XBOX360 is the best;

djtim_3000
djtim_3000

@lazyhoboguy er, if you 'surveyed' every person in america it wouldn't be a survey and it wouldn't generate a statistic. Statisical methods have been used to infer data from a population for years and are incredibly accurate. I don't think NPD got where they were by fudging numbers. Sometimes their predictions based on gathered statistics are off but I would trust these results are very accurate. Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistics if you don't believe me. Also @ epking paragraphs? you may have heard of them... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragraphs

milkweed989
milkweed989

all i know is that games sell consoles not online, if people want online they get a computer buy the game and install it.

epking
epking

rajinko, plenty of experts have picked the x360 as the winner. Secondly, your ps2 example is laughably nearsighted. The counter argument is patenly obvious....the ps2 lack of online capability was less of a factor 8 YEARS AGO!!! when high speed online gaming was in it's infancy. How you could site last gen as definitive evidence for online gaming and dlc being a non factor is beyond comprehension. Newsflash------ High Speed gaming is more important in 2008 and going foward. (which is why i said Sony was behind the curve and is having to catch up) How in the heck do you think MS was able to gain so much market share this gen? 100 out of 100 experts would tell you it had a great deal to do with XboxLIve. (the other factors primarily being, getting to market first and great selling exclusives) Anyways, I'm sorry to tell you this, but the importance of online gaming and DLC this gen is a known fact. In fact, it's hugely important evidenced by Sony's scrambling to get out HOME. Now, online implementation is not the end all be all of gaming (your example of the wii's success is a good one) But your analysis on the whole is absurdly nearsighted. Online gaming and DLC is hugely important. Nearly any game developers actions of late will tell you that. If you can't understand this I can't help you there. The wii's strategy was a brilliant one, because it targeted casual and budget gamers primarily and obviously online ability is less of a factor. Sony and MS's core audience is entirely different, which is why you have both companies focus so much on the online component. Think about your argument for a second.......why in the hell would Sony feature it's online capabilities so prominantly and have to radically over haul thier online system with HOME if online gaming wasn't hugely important this gen????? finally, your comment "the x360 isn't selling more games than the ps3 because of Live" is flat out false. Any objective person would tell you the x360 sells cross platform games at a stunningly higher margin primarily for 2 reasons. 1. because more people own x360s and 2. Online implementation and friends lists and ect... Why don't you explain then why amongst people who own both consoles that they choose x360 versions at a profoundly higher rate? Virtually any gamestop member who this applies to will tell you it's because of better online functionality and the simple fact that it's profoundly easier to pick up and play with your friends. Also, answer this: why do you think GTAIV is going to do so much better on the x360 amongst people who own both consoles? I'd take to the bank that multiplatform owners will buy GTAIV on the x360 instead of ps3 at a rate of 70-80% (the primary reason being online implementation, exclusive content and freinds lists) Hell, consider COD4 for example.. we see the same trend there. I don't know man....how you could possibly claim Live is not a significant factor is beyond me.... edit: actually, it's not. It's because you don't have it and don't fully comprehend it's merits. also, a person with a solid snake avatar saying the only people who care about online and DLC being hardcore nerds comes of as a bit ridiculous. Anyways, to make a long story short, I've got nothing against the ps3 on the whole, I just know from firsthand experience that their online implementation is lacking, and it's a significant flaw untill they get it fixed.....and it's an undenialble fact. Why else would they be reworking into HOME? Further, how could MS have cut so drastically into Sony's market share this gen were it not for it's online differentiation strategy. Like i said, 100 out of 100 informed, objective-minded people would tell you LIVE played a significant factor in this.

Proman84
Proman84

Hmm, that figure is a little hard to believe (especially considering the large amount of senior citizens who don't know how to use a computer). I'm not even sure if this is a good thing or not anymore. Probably, it's good.

Raijinko
Raijinko

epking, what you said make no sense, 360 isn't selling more games than ps3 because of Live, and no console is going to win because of online, if this was the case why did mostly every multiplat games sell the most on ps2? and why did the ps2 sell 135 million consoles with worser online while xbox 1 sold around 35Mil? And why the Wii has already passed 360 in sales with the bad online, and why is 360 now getting outsold by every system? To tell you the truth the only people that really care about online achievements and DLC are hardcore nerds. Which is why somebody has yet to predict 360 as being the winner of this gen.

Merl57
Merl57

cool more people to buy games when i make them hopefully

epking
epking

interesting survey. I think one of the most telling aspects is Microsoft's dominance of the online gameplay market. Sony still haven;t recovered from failing to implement good online features into the PS2. I was shocked to see them behind the online gameplay curve when the ps3 was released....but now they are trying to remedy that with HOME. Regardless, they are way late to the party because of lack of vision. MS has 70% maybe more of online gameplay share (with PC and xboxlive) and with DLC and Online Advertising and Xbox Live fees......that is an extremely powerful position. I do like Sony and the PS3, but their lack of vision regarding the online gaming future has cost them dearly. In fact, MS could win the console war (and is winning the console war) in large part based on their superior online implementation. (the other being superior exclusives and profoundly better sales on cross platform games) and those of you who are skeptical.....Consider this: Why do cross platform games sell profoundly better on the x360? It's mostly due to superior online functionality. Further, consider why amongst people like myself who own both a ps3 and x360 why do they by a huge margin choose x360 versions for cross platform games.? The answer is obvious isn't it? It's because of superior online implementation and freinds lists isn't it? To further this point, wait and see how vastly GTAIV outsells the ps3 on X360. You have the exclusive DLC and then the brilliant implementation of multiplayer through live......and you will have probably 2.5 to 3 times the GTAIV sales on X360...maybe even more. Regardless of how wide a margin GTAIV sells on the x360.....it will be a serious blow to the ps3. Especially when you consider the mind blowing sales GTAIV is going to do. If you have 6 million copies sold on x360 compared to 2 million on the ps3.....publishers and the financial world will take notice not to mention gamers looking to buy thier first next gen console..

cdodder
cdodder

"umm some of you guys are taking this survey too seriously, notice how it says "respondents to a US survey" this figures are based off a random number of people who decided to take the survey. They didnt survery everyone in America." ummm, lazyhoboguy... normally you dont survey the entire country for anything. You take a sample survey to predict what the results would be if you did survey everyone, and dont post the same thing 4 times, fool.

placksheep
placksheep

My mom is in her 50's, and she plays games online. Casual games that you can play for free have a lot bigger following than you might think. Also I've heard of nursing homes in our area that use the Wii, and it's a big hit with the residents. So stop over-generalizing. The NPD based this on surveys, you have no facts to support your assertion that elderly people don't play games.

chickmagnet_1
chickmagnet_1

Oh sweet, I'm with the 3% that own 2 of the three major home systems (that being the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii) ~ this probably being the 2 that most people would own if they owned 2, being that the PS3 is still way too expensive for the average gamer, especially if combined with a second system. As for owning all 3 systems, well thats just taking things overboard. Too much money.

getoconnection
getoconnection

Shocker. I guess Nintendo was right all along about online gaming. They deserve every dime coming to them. N not for real gamers? Please. Nintendo is the only company that isn't swinging for the loins of Hollywood. Prove me wrong.

cattymeat357
cattymeat357

Yeah not true, this is an estimate so obviously its very far off. Its prolly about 20% i go with the obvious signs not some random NPD vote. That would mean elderly people play video games. which they dont. Yeah I started to lol when i seen this. I love video games but I know fact from fiction. Maybe in like 50 years when when all the present middle aged people become elderly and the present teens are middle aged than i can see it being 72%. But for now I'm going to guess its about 15% to 35% or somewhere near there. The only way it would be 72% would be if they included board games on this survey.

yatatabien
yatatabien

He. Videogames are moving from a weird way of fun to a massive media like the TV. The good side: videogames market is becoming a respectable industry, in the same level as cinema or literature. The bad side: Massive adoption makes original gameplay ideas less relevant, and the development prices higher

ocdog45
ocdog45

soon........the world

Lord__Darkstorn
Lord__Darkstorn

these are online users only, and most people on the NPD's mailing list are gamers anyway. It's not to be taken too seriously, but gaming is on the rise with what's now called the "casual gaming movement."

lazyhoboguy
lazyhoboguy

umm some of you guys are taking this survey too seriously, notice how it says "respondents to a US survey" this figures are based off a random number of people who decided to take the survey. They didnt survery everyone in America.

lazyhoboguy
lazyhoboguy

umm some of you guys are taking this survey too seriously, notice how it says "respondents to a US survey" this figures are based off a random number of people who decided to take the survey. They didnt survery everyone in America.

lazyhoboguy
lazyhoboguy

umm some of you guys are taking this survey too seriously, notice how it says "respondents to a US survey" this figures are based off a random number of people who decided to take the survey. They didnt survery everyone in America.

lazyhoboguy
lazyhoboguy

umm some of you guys are taking this survey too seriously, notice how it says "respondents to a US survey" this figures are based off a random number of people who decided to take the survey. They didnt survery everyone in America.

xatman911
xatman911

Well gaming on cell phone would be pushed higher if the OEM pre loaded better games then the classics such as Snake, Reverse, Connect Four - I mean, been there done that. Why do not we get something hot like Mario Mobile. I mean come on, an average media mobile has more then enough capability to play such game in comparison to NES and SNES consoles. Right?

habit0422
habit0422

@nate1222 I somewhat see your point, but the cost for a graphics card that you need to replace ever other years to play the newest games is more than the price of the all those accessory's.

ksuttonjr76
ksuttonjr76

40% of online gamers are under 18, but then 50% are over 25? Wow, I guess that explains why there is so much "hostility" online. It's basically Old School vs. New School. "Old" people trying to telling "young" people how to play, while "young" people are telling "old" people that they will play how they feel like playing.

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

18-24 only 10%? that can't be right. no way

Nuke-13
Nuke-13

Does anyone know how they defined "playing a game" ? It would be nice to also get the numbers about the number of gamers who play at least X amount of hours...

daveyf03
daveyf03

I am guessing turbo solitaire counts as a game then.

lordmt
lordmt

360 DOES HAVE MORE ONLINE GAMES AFTER ALL. But dang 72% of America plays video games. That is kick. Also that 2% with all three.

jphillips1868
jphillips1868

That is kind of shocking that 50% of Xbox 360 owners don't use the live service. It is such a good deal. I guess if you don't have, or can't get, broadband, you can't get live. Otherwise, its seem like such a waste of the potential of the console.

NWA_31
NWA_31

Nice... I am also part of the 2% that own all 3. 8)

nate1222
nate1222

I consider myself a 'CORE' not 'hardcore' gamer. Core, as in: I know my FPSs from my RPGs and my RTSs from my platformers. Most of those surveyed probably wouldn't know the difference. But I'm by no means as into it as some people. I've owned a NES, SNES, Genisis, N64, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2 and XBox. I currently own a GameCube and a PC with 2GB RAM and a nVidia GeForce 8800 video card. I'm considering the Wii. I had a 360, but ditched it because most of what I want on it is also on PC. At this point, I'm burnt out on blowing money on consoles. The investment rarely carries over. When the next-gen starts, you have all these games, controllers, memory units, etc... that you CAN'T use with the new hardware. At least with PCs, I can use my old games, video card, RAM, etc... with the next PC I buy 3-4 years later.

K-Grogg
K-Grogg

"peeweeshift- im part of the 2 percent who owns them awesome. I love life" I would say I hate u, but I don't, I'm just really jealous. :(

thomasbcperry
thomasbcperry

There not casual games. There just games. Remember when Super Mario Bros. and Dr. Mario were considered games by the general public... not casual games. HD and genres don't define a game as hardcore and they don't make a gamer hardcore.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

im part of the 2 percent who owns them awesome. I love life:D

Ra-Devil
Ra-Devil

It's not that they're all hardcore gamers or just regular gamers, they just play games whenever. The normal lineup of games you'd find them with is something to the extent of sports games, maybe even wrestling games, Halo, some other shooters, and that's about it. They would look at something like DMC or Ninja Gaiden, hell, a Zelda or a FF, and think it was incredibly ghey So yeah, those are where all these stats are coming from.

paullywog
paullywog

there must be a LOT of closet gamers then, because i can't imagine the average person at school being a gamer. they don't even play cas games i wouldn't bet.

MrNib
MrNib

62 of that 72% are infact casual, i dont know many "true" gamers so i may be wrong