This just in: Extreme Gamers spend more heavily than even heavy gamers. In the follow-up to last year's Games Segmentation II survey, the industry-tracking NPD Group found that the highest order of gamers spend on average 45 hours a week playing games, having purchased roughly 24 titles in a three-month period. That's a marked increase from last year, in which the then-top Heavy Gamer demographic spent 39.3 hours a week gaming, purchasing on average 13.1 games over the same period of time.
In this year's Games Segmentation 2008 study, the NPD Group revised its methods slightly, asking more than 20,000 respondents from ages 2 to 99 to report on their game-playing and purchasing habits from approximately November 2007 through January 2008. Of the 174 million people in the US who identified themselves as game players, the NPD Group derived seven demographic categories. Although NPD provided headline statistics for each of these categories, it did not explicitly delineate the characteristics of these classes.
The aforementioned Extreme Gamers comprise just 3 percent of the gaming population, but the group easily buys more and spends more time playing the games that they buy than any other demographic. Extreme Gamers show an inclination toward gaming on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, reports NPD, and more than half of this group is receptive to purchasing downloadable content to augment their experience.
"Although Extreme Gamers are heavily involved with the industry, they represent a small portion of the potential market for any new game that comes to market," cautioned NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "In order to promote continued growth, we must better understand all of the gaming segments."
NPD found that the largest demographic of gamers fell into the Young Heavy Gamers category. This group makes up 22 percent of the total gaming population in the US, and the market-research firm noted that the group represents at least one-third of any given platform's total installed base. Young Heavy Gamers also skew toward portable gaming, with 6 out of 10 owners of the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable hailing from this group.
NPD reserved the actual breakdown of each demographic for its full report. However, it did note that Secondary Gamers make up 20 percent of the gaming audience, followed by Console Gamers at 17 percent, Offline PC gamers at 15 percent, Online PC Gamers at 14 percent, and Avid PC Gamers at 9 percent.