NPD: 'Heavy Gamers' heaviest spenders

New report from industry-standard research group dissects US gaming public into six subsets, finds smallest group buys most games.

This just in: Hardcore gamers are hardcore spenders. That's the main takeaway from "Gamer Segmentation II," the latest report from the NPD Group. Earlier this year, the industry-research firm interviewed 11,638 gamers aged 6 to 44 and sifted through their responses. The result? A detailed demographic breakdown of how the estimated 191 million gamers in the US buy and play their games.

In the report, NPD divided gamers into six different segments. Some 33 percent of US gamers are "Avid PC Gamers," who play an average 13.6 hours per week primarily on a PC or Macintosh. NPD found that members of the group were relatively thrifty, buying an average of 1.4 titles per quarter.

The next-largest group is "Secondary Gamers" with 22 percent of the US gaming population. They play just 6.5 hours a week, mainly on a PC or Mac, with only a third owning the nation's most popular console, the PlayStation 2. Secondary Gamers buy an average of only 0.8 games each quarter, the smallest number of any group.

The biggest group of non-PC gamers is "Avid Console Gamers," who make up 20 percent of the US gaming population. They play around 10.7 hours per week on at least one console, owning an average of 1.6 consoles and 0.8 portables.

Avid Console Gamers buy an average of 1.9 games per quarter, just below the two games bought each quarter by the next-largest group, "Mass Market Gamers." Mass Market Gamers comprise just 15 percent of the US gaming public, and play an average of 8.9 hours each week, mainly on the PS2 and PC. Oddly, the section boasts a higher average console ownership, 1.8 consoles, than Avid Console Gamers.

The next-largest group is "Causal Kid Gamers." As the name implies, this is the youngest group, composed almost entirely of children ages 6-12. They own an average of one console and 0.5 portables, primarily the PS2 and Game Boy Advance. Likely due to parental oversight, this group games the least--just 3.6 hours per week--and ties Secondary Gamers' average of 0.8 game purchases per quarter.

Last but not least, the smallest section is the most hardcore of all. Although they make up just 2 percent of the gaming public, "Heavy Gamers" own an average of 2.8 consoles and 1.9 portables. They play a whopping 39.3 hours a week, mainly on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, and buy a budget-busting average of 13.1 games every quarter--or roughly 4.5 games each month.

Though small--numbering around 3.8 million--this last group's spending habits make it coveted by publishers and console makers alike. "Heavy gamers have always been a focal segment for the games industry because they're so deeply invested in gaming," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "The potential for industry growth lies with the other, larger groups, and getting them increasingly involved in gaming over time."

Besides buying in bulk, Heavy Gamers are also the most likely to buy games via digital download. However, they are trumped by Avid PC Gamers, who have the highest number of individuals who have purchased over half their games via online delivery. Three of every five Heavy Gamers buy game content via microtransactions like those on the PlayStation Store, Wii Virtual Console, or Xbox Live Marketplace.

Heavy Gamers are also the most likely to play games online, with 83 percent of the group taking on opponents over the Internet. No doubt boosted by the popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, 74 percent of Avid PC Gamers play over the Web.

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427 comments
veni-vidi-vici
veni-vidi-vici

Some people game so much i wonder where the time for LIFE and personal hygiene happens. Sheesh. And yeah a pie chart would be better than all that rambling.

f789790
f789790

Ok too many numbers. Just give me a pie chart.

rangeraa
rangeraa

im starting to wonder how some of you find time to sleep, work/go to school, eat..or even generally clean yourselves spending over 40h a week on video games!

Orthrand
Orthrand

The only time ive ever played that much is when i got obsessed with Arcanum ive i played five hours a night and 20 hours each weekend, Ive never matched that since. I now feel guilty about playing on weekdays, a hangover from my recent exams that i cant seem to shake its bloody annoying

RealKilla_789
RealKilla_789 moderator

They need to create another category. I dont know anyone that buys 1 game per week. I think my category might be more for a lot of people. I buy about 2 games a month or 6 games per quarter. And I play about 20-30 hours of videogames all on Xbox 360 and PC. I bought my 360 last christmas and now i have 14 games

IRoxxorUrSoxxor
IRoxxorUrSoxxor

I've probably played about 40 hours of games a week, but I'll be damned if I buy 4.5 games a month. . .

kappareign
kappareign

you might think with all the work they put into doing the study they could have come up with better categories... instead of 6 some-what ill defined groups that arnt very clear.

jazilla
jazilla

That's why these guys aren't rocket scientists. They just state the obvious. Hey, whoever are the bosses of these analysts, I will do their job for the for 2/3 of their paycheck!

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Now that's Hardcore. I know I'm not anymore (comes with getting older), but according to this I'm not sure I ever was. Baah I'm sure of it.

snoboardlunatic
snoboardlunatic

no one gives a rat's *** on what group you fall in so quit posting them

Merl57
Merl57

Well I play double the amount that hardcore gamers play. I usually do 40 -100 hours a week and I do not buy 5 games a month , I play the same games 300+ hours or guild wars 3300 hours +

fluffebunnie
fluffebunnie

Interesting... The smallest group buys the most games... I hope companies pay attention to this as they continue to screw over the hardcore gamers.

makemeweak
makemeweak

Gee... the gamers who play the most hours buy the most games... thanks for clearing that up NPD...

marcod1
marcod1

hl80 says: Aw man I'm not a hardcore gamer anymore. :-( I was when I was 12, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore unfortunately. MMMM.... yearight

biged2k2
biged2k2

"I saw the title and thought it was about fat kids spending the most on games. I would have enjoyed that story better , good day sirs" Haha, me too.

JaMeS4418
JaMeS4418

someone should have rounded off these numbers. Who buys 0.8 of a game?

Shaner258
Shaner258

I don't know if I fit into any of groups. I own 360, Wii, ps2, gamecube, GBA, DS, and PC. I usually shift between playing them every month. Last month was DS and this month is 360 because I usually only have 1 game per month so w/e system it is for is what I play. The only ones I have not played in a long time are Wii, Gamecube, and GBA...the Wii is failing me.

lamplan
lamplan

just 1.0 consoles here. :P

bforrester
bforrester

39.5 hours a week? No wonder Americans are fat! If you play video games that much, you really need to step back and take stock of the quality of your life. I love video games, but I like girls even more...

hl80
hl80

Aw man I'm not a hardcore gamer anymore. :-( I was when I was 12, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore unfortunately.

HeartBreakKID1
HeartBreakKID1

Let's see. I play as much per week as a "Heavy Gamer", but i own a PS2(Avid Console Gamer).

Thornscar
Thornscar

What if you rent a lot of games and still play a lot of hours?

carrsabre
carrsabre

down with the system! Its all lies :)

markjet23
markjet23

Im only a "secondary gamers''

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

I guess I'm in the "Avid Console Gamer" demographic.

XenomorphX
XenomorphX

I buy, on average, maybe 2 or 3 games a year. I own two consoles, neither of which I play anymore. I'm getting PS 3 soon which I plan on playing, though. I'm a hardcore PC gamer, I think. I just calculated that, on an average working week, I play about 62,5 hours. On a week off, an average of 100 hours. Yeah, I don't have a life, and I'm going to have even less of a life once I get my hands on PS 3.

marcod1
marcod1

Damn, only 39 hours a week and 13 games a quarter. What category am i in then? Who writes these articles? 3.8 this and 1.2 thatand categorizing everybody. How about we categorize writers........ Group 1 is out of work with only 4.6 featured articles published Group 2 has a telemarketing job in the eveneing and has completed 3 pages of a novel titled "4.5 typewrites at work" Group 3 works as an intern at the cleveland chronicle still waiting for a full time slot set to open in 3.8 years.

dryden555
dryden555

Actually the gaming market has moved away from appealing to the heavy gamer for several years now. Games are getting easier and flashier and with less content and those games sell well and make lots of money. At some point this will change but not anytime soon.

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

Oh ho ho, a heavy gamer, am I? 2.8 consoles seems quite low. I own *counts* nine, I believe. I know many others others who own around six to ten (All excluding handhels). The game purchase rate seems about right though, as does time spent playing. Oh, but don't make the mistake of thinking we heavy gamers are rich. I know I'm not. The reason I can afford that is that I get less of other stuff - eat out less, go to the movies less, etc. And this prolly doesn't distinguish between brand new games and cheap used games, either. You can likely get 13 used games for the price of three or four new ones. Edit: 11,000+ is a more than adequate sample size. Around 2-3 thousand is what you need to become credible, but 11k is higher than most I've seen, and it's a satisfactory number. Presuming other aspects of the study are all adequately handled as well.

kragore
kragore

i own 1.6 consoles and 0.8 handhelds and one fifth of a pc, along with half a TV....

ahdotx
ahdotx

what category does a guy with 3 consoles and 1 pc but spend almost 4-5 hrs each day fall in? =x

Inv_Machine
Inv_Machine

In Texas, the gamer who's got the most money wins. Exibit A: I budget shop the heck outta most of my games. Exibit B: People around here just gave up on the whole gaming charrade.

hampton2003
hampton2003

well according to these stats im a avid pc gamer, but i do (on average) play more than 13 hrs a week. its more around 18-20 hrs. but i dont agree with their theory on how many games each group buys. i only buy good games, so if nothing good is out then i dont buy any of the regular crap. in the past six months ive only bought 3 games, and the six months before that i only bought one(that was a pretty dry season). ex: COH, C&C3, BF2142, Sup com, etc. if i did own a 360 i would buy a little more (gears im looking at you), but consoles seem even more flooded with medicore crap. i dont buy games just to try them or just for more variety, i make sure my money is well spent and ill be playing that game for months to come.

geldonyetich
geldonyetich

Newsflash! Subset of gamers that buy the most games are the very same subset of gamers that buy the most games. News at 11! I'm definitely a "Heavy Gamer."

Everon22
Everon22

I wonder how matt feels....

DAmore_117
DAmore_117

Im niether of these catagories... IM A PRODIGY GAMER!!!!!!!!!! reckonize b!@#$s!

Darkside2501
Darkside2501

13 games a quarter! I wish I had that kind of cash...

thedude17
thedude17

11,638 is a fairly large sample size.

Sexy_Yofu
Sexy_Yofu

John.....that average is incredibly low. IMO at least. Xfire has clocked me into 80 hours of WoW and 7 hours of Gmod 10 in the last 7 days. That doesn't even include my 360, PS2, DS and Wii hours. Most gamers I know follow similar time clocks. I don't know about you but 40 hours is nothing to me.

btorture
btorture

Yeah, this study refutes nothing, really. Of the millions of gamers, they chose 11,638 people and based their deductions on that? Sounds pretty flimsy to me. Perhaps if they'd a real hypothesis to test, there'd be more $$$ to conduct a more representative survey. What's refreshing is, however, is to think that as time passes, a greater and greater percentage of people do game. Each successive generation since mine (I'm in my 30's) has bought in and many have remained gamers; this bodes well for society, I think. See, I had an epiphany at an Iron Maiden concert last year: if the world consisted of only these kinds of people, the world would rule. The more gamers, the fewer non-geeks to oppose us. Mwahh-ha ha! Happy 4th of July, fellow dorks--the world is ours!

ThePhilatron
ThePhilatron

I guess I don't have quite what it takes to be a heavy gamer......but I'm more like it than the other categories.

rob3nelson
rob3nelson

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

xboxdudeman800
xboxdudeman800

This title is misleading, it could mean that "fat gamers buy more games"

rob3nelson
rob3nelson

This website sucks!!! I know the owners of this website'll probably delete this message because they are a bunch of wimps. There really is no freedom of speech in this country (or, at least on this website). I posted a previous message in response to this article that was taken off because of trolling. The real reason my message was taken off, however, was because some 19 year old punk who worked at a computer store (it's his first job - LOL!!!) got pissed at me for making fun of people who waste all their money on computer junk that'll become obsolete in a year. I'm a 40 year old accountant and have wasted thousands and thousands of dollars on computer junk myself through the years. Having done this, I've just recently decided to do all of my gaming on consoles from now on. The 19 year old obviously thought I was expressing hatred of him or people like him. Having built a ton of computers myself, I had no intention, especially since I've never heard of the dude. I guess I was merely expressing frustration at the state of computer gaming now adays. There seem to be more games avalilable for consoles than computers, for one thing. For another, while computers may be more powerful than consoles, they are much more expensive to purchase and maintain, while the payoffs for gaming are not as intense (in my opinion). Since Gamespot clearly cannot deal with people who think like me without censoring their thoughts (they must deem them to be too controversial), I am writing this to let them know that I don't care. O will never pay for their crappy services any more. If there are any further consequences, I guess it's the price you must pay for freedom of speech. In any case, I have moved on from Gamespot ro better sites (sites that don't take forever to rate games, for example). It's a real competitive market out there. I bet IGN.com doesn't censor people as much.

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

I hope no money was spent on this research that states the obvious.

Baruch_S
Baruch_S

Wow... Reading this makes me really glad that I have real-life friends to do stuff with. I love gaming, but I don't think I could do 40 hours a week. That's a full-time job you don't get paid for. And 4.5 games a month at $40-$60 for a new game is a lot more money than I could afford.

sigma8
sigma8

David_Boreanz: "I don't like the fact that people posting on this topic are calling "Heavy Gamers" losers with no life. A few years ago I was heavily into games, I probably clocked in about 30 hours a week in games, if not more, but that doesn't mean I had no life. I would go to parties, movies, and out with friends almost every night, while still gaming quite a bit." There are only 168 hours in the week. If sleep 7 hours a night, that's nearly 50 right there. Full time job = 40 hours. Full time student = 30+ hours (sky is the limit there, depending on the student).. Say with transportation to and from and eating meals, getting dressed, showered, etc.. a job plus sleeping is about 115 hours a week, give or take 5 hours. Then you add, say, 35 hours of gaming.. that's 150 hours. There are only 18 hours left.. and you still have to do things like shop for groceries and laundry. So maybe that takes another 5-6 hours. So you have 10 hours for partying.. If you only partied on weekends, those might be some nice 5 hour parties...but going out every night? that's about an hour and change each night. I'm not saying hardcore gamers have no lives...but they often don't do many things in them. Having a girlfriend doesn't mean you have a life. I see plenty of couples (not necessarily gamers) who have no lives.

John_of_Fire
John_of_Fire

39.3 Hours and 4.5 games a month as an average. WOW. So what was the highest amount played and most games bought? OK so I bought 6 games this June myself but who plays over forty hours to make the average so high?

bashmentkid
bashmentkid

I am a heavy gamer, with internet addiction syndrome for sure, i regularly make tough decisions vis a vis the latest game or pay my rent, a tasty sandwich for lunch, or the most recent mission pack for whatever, a night on the tiles filled with delicious drugs, or a night in, filled with achievements and high scores. my virtual life takes up more time than my real one, and the only reason i have a real one is because i refuse to pick up an mmorpg, as that truly would be the end, and i know it.