NPD: American gamer population falling

Research group's latest report finds gamer population in U.S. hits 211.5 million, down 5 percent year-over-year; mobile segment surpasses core.

A new report from research firm NPD Group claims the gamer population in the United States totaled 211.5 million in 2012, a 5 percent decline compared to last year. According to the latest available Census data, the total U.S. population stands at over 314 million.

The news comes from the firm's Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers report, which also revealed that the size of major gamer segments are changing, with mobile gamers in 2012 surpassing core gamers, which represented the largest segment in 2011.

The total number of gamers in the United States is falling, but only slightly, says the NPD.

According to analyst Anita Frazier, this is hardly surprising, given the protracted current generation of consoles and the rise of new platforms.

The report found that of the six gamer segments included in the findings, only mobile gamers (up 9 percentage points to 22 percent) and digital gamers (up 4 percentage points to 16 percent) increased year over year. The four other segments, which include core gamers, family and kid gamers, light PC gamers, and avid PC gamers, fell. The most precipitous decline came in the family and kid gamer segment, which lost 17.4 million gamers since last year.

An NPD representative explained to GameSpot that a person can belong only to one group. Additionally, the rep confirmed that a "digital gamer" is one that is "engaged in a variety of gaming, from PC to mobile, console to portable, online and offline."

The report also tracked money spent, finding that those who purchased games in the past three months spent an average of $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games (PC, console, and portable). Core gamers were the most readily willing to spend money, as this segment spent $65 on physical games over those three months, more than any other segment, the firm found.

Concerning money spent on microtransactions and additional digital game content, the report found that nearly 14 percent of total gamers made these purchases over the past three months, up from 11 percent in 2011. Core gamers and digital gamers made up the biggest contingent of spenders for microtransactions and add-on content, contributing 27 percent and 23 percent of sales, respectively.

The Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers report was based on 8,488 completed surveys, dispatched in March 2012 to members of NPD's online panel.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

0 comments
DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

And they still insist gamers are just kids only?

BPoole96
BPoole96

People are bored with current gen consoles. There has to be something new to keep people interested. Rehashing the same series' over and over is boring as hell. Publishers need to invest in new IPs and Sony/MS need to get their next consoles on the market this Fall

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

lol here we are in an age where economists are trying to make games to appeal to more new people in order to sell more games, when their core gamers are the largest target market anyways, and thats whose been neglected the most? 

 

Too bad i didnt go to school to learn how to be so stupid...

Lamesy
Lamesy

The children are missing?! Send out an Amber Alert!

Vambran
Vambran

If people are gaming less i think it has more to do with the economy than general gaming trends.

sieg6529
sieg6529

I know my time is limited.  The wife's gonna want kids soon, and combine that with work and going back for yet even more grad school and I may have to hang it up as I trudge into my 30s.

Double_Wide
Double_Wide

LOL @ "mobile surpasses core". Right because its news that more people own cell phones and computers than consoles.

 

Seriously, you call this news?!

MysteryJ0ker
MysteryJ0ker

That's.... still 2/3's of the population which is a fairly good number

maitkarro
maitkarro

I just payed today 100 euros for 3 games, (3rd Dark Souls(PC), 2 PS3 games). Basically I've bought like in 1 year, 50 physical ps3 games and same amount of PSN games and with Steam Summer sale got over 100 more games in 2 weeks. Where do I fit.

csward
csward

Companies are charging too much for games that deliver the same experience as previous entries in the series or copycat other games to death. If they all lowered their prices to $40 on software until the next generation, this trend would turn around.

 

I also believe that instead of doing one or two things really well, companies try to create games that do everything, and it turns into mediocre and boring gaming experiences (looking at you Darksiders 2, for example). It also makes development costs go up, that they all seem to complain about.

MuggySake
MuggySake

With over 3/4 of the population playing games, it's safe to say just about everybody who can play games does play games. Nothing really spectacular about these stats.

 

http://truthofgaming.blogspot.com/

y3ivan
y3ivan

211.5 mil out of 314 mil? thats ~70% of the population. i have a feeling the statistics are overinflated

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

211.5 million is a good population of of 314 million people. 5% lost gamers is normal. Some people just give up playing videogames for whatever reason. So just about 2/3rd of the U.S.A plays videogames. What more do you want?

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Or it could be because school has started and students don't have much time to devout to gaming? :/

Apastron
Apastron

So on the same day that it's reported that the American gamer population is falling, EA announce that they're basically doing away with single-player games.

 

I wonder if the two could be connected...?

 

avatarIVN
avatarIVN

Its a little hard to spend $60 on a new game that just came out when you can easily get a discount in some good titles only by waiting a good season (like christmas or the black friday for instance).  Well, don't get me wrong. I love videogames, but I can't afford to spend that much so often.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

it doesnt surprise me....spending $60 on a new game is more expensive than buying a $6 game that you can access anywhere....

e6compass
e6compass

Easily expected. More people can't afford games let alone the expensive consoles that run them. Game developers are either trying too hard to be unique or are trying too hard to be safe. The gaming industry that I thought was invincible is being slowly reduced by the very people who should be making it better.

blackace
blackace

These numbers are surprising since so many gamers are out of work now. You can't buy games if you don't have money. The family and kid gamers % fell mainly because of the Wii. No one is buying Wii's or their games right now as the Wii U will be coming out at the end of the year. A lot of the core gamers who owned a Wii have also left, never to return. I definitely agree with these numbers. I would love to see the numbers for Europe and Asia as well.

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

That's no surprise.  The industry is going down the wrong path, catering mostly to casual gamers that in the end could abandon the activity,  Core is being neglected, with experiences getting shallower with time, challenge has been taken out of the equation, simulators are almost extinct, and we keep getting "cinematic" experiences.  I might as well be a part of the declining statistics if this trend continues.  Maybe I'll have to make a huge investment to upgrade my PC to current standards and completely abandon the pathetic console market.  That is something I wanted to avoid.

James00715
James00715

The casual gamers were always to be a fickle group. They can't be relied on long term. The hardcore gamers can though. They still spent $65 on average. Their numbers didn't go down much. When all the new consoles are out, they will all be back.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

"An NPD representative explained to GameSpot that a person can belong only to one group."

 

Idiotic measurement system...

Takeno456
Takeno456

I am not worried. It was already a given that mobile gaming would become the biggest segment. That's because it is the most accessible and it is largely "free". Personally I don't care for mobile and casual gaming. I think when the new systems come out or when casual players slowly upgrade to core because they realize angry birds won't cut it we will see more growth.

mediarays
mediarays

Once upon a time our streets are filled with kids playing cricket now its all empty reason is video games

mediarays
mediarays

Too much video gaming not good for health and mind and also for neighbours

miserable247365
miserable247365

It's probably the Wii. It was crazy popular here in the US. Grandparents were crowding around the TV, playing with their grandchildren. I even saw one in nursing home rec room. Casual players got bored with it. They were never really gamers, it was just something fun to do with family members/friends.

Zoza24
Zoza24

Europe is doing fine though :P

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

If it's true, I get the feeling abusive DRM has something to do with it. The online pass, always online, etc. sound like they have the potential to do this. Might be best to stop using them.

hickabickabooya
hickabickabooya

9,000 surveys? Basicly that means that the entire study is a whole bunch of guess work that is probably way off mark.

cheamo
cheamo

I guess all those people got bored of their shovelware lol.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I suspect that most of these people aren't folks that we would consider "gamers" at all.  Yeah, technically my woman plays games...I doubt she would say that she's a gamer.

 

Casual gamers are just folks who need a diversion or time-killer, not folks who enjoy gaming as a dedicated pasttime.  Us folks who really enjoy it may shift from one platform to another over time.  We may even fall out of the gaming space due to life circumstances (e.g. losing a job, going to school, having a baby, etc).  But I don't think we just up and disappear forever.  We gamers will be back.

 

As for the Facebook / Yahoo "gamer," they're a fickle bunch.  You can't count of them to sustain anything.

Entropy2k
Entropy2k

 @Megavideogamer I agree with you, this seems like a normal fluctuation.  Kid gamers became adult gamers, some older gamers "retire", some part-time gamers become bored and leave, the world keeps spinning.  Considering everyone I know from family to friends to coworkers, 2/3rds being at least a little into gaming seems about right.

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

 @dawnofhero have you seen the sad state of affairs in education... i doubt that that is the thing thats holding them back.

Frosty192
Frosty192

 @jagcivtec You should play Demons or Dark Souls, that should entertain you for awhile

 

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

 @mediarays You're wrong on the last part -- video gaming is GREAT for neighbors!  It gets all those annoying cricket-playing kids off the streets.

blackace
blackace

 @Zoza24 

No they aren't. Their economy is in a shambles as well. I would love to see their numbers. More of Europe play mostly PC games anyways. Most of those games are pirated.

RippleLaser
RippleLaser

 @hickabickabooya For a survey of about 95% accuracy, this is enough for US population. Didn't learn statistics right?

blackace
blackace

 @cheamo 

What shovelware are you talking about. Every platform has shovelware on it. Are you talking about casual gamers?

Lamesy
Lamesy

 @theKSMM This is a study of retail markets. If "your woman" (I would be careful about using that terminology today) is spending money on gaming, or other people spend money on gaming gifts for her, then she is a part of the gamer market. It's not about self-identifying.

jagcivtec
jagcivtec

 @Frosty192 I know there are exceptions, very solid titles, but I find they are the less, while poor experiences are the norm.  It should be the opposite way.

csward
csward

 @RippleLaser  @hickabickabooya 9,000 is less than one thousandth of a percent of the gaming population. I did take statistics and that is too small of a sample size, imo, which could easily lead to a swing of 5%.

hickabickabooya
hickabickabooya

 @RippleLaser

LOL, no, I did pretty well in college math. In fact, I learned enough to know that anything from surveys to voting can be adjusted to say what the user wants. However, in this case, my issue is more with the categories used and the narrow range of people surveyed (members of NPD‘s panel).

cheamo
cheamo

 @blackace I mean that many many people picked up one or both of the Wii and Kinect, probably got one or two games with them, and are now bored.