According to a study released this week by Nielsen, people in the United States aged 13 and up spent an average of 6.3 hours playing games per week in 2013. That's a 12 percent increase from the 5.6 hours they spent on weekly gaming in 2012. Not only is game-playing on the rise, according to Nielsen's 360 Gaming Report, but gamers are also diversifying the devices they play on.
According to the report, 50 percent of US console gamers say they also play games on a mobile or tablet device. This is up from 46 percent in 2012 and 35 percent in 2011. Nielsen says this data suggests that new avenues of play--smartphones and tablets--aren't cannibalizing gaming time, but rather strengthening engagement overall.
It's no surprise, then, that major publishers often support their core console games with either dedicated spinoff games or companion apps, like the recently released ctOS app for Watch Dogs. Another example is Square Enix, which is simultaneously working on a AAA Hitman game and mobile/tablet Hitman titles.
The Nielsen 360 Gaming Report also shows that time spent gaming on mobile and tablet gaming is on the rise, which shouldn't be much of a surprise. In 2013, mobile and tablet gaming took up 19 percent of US gamers' time, compared to 13 percent in 2012 and 9 percent in 2011.
The top category for playtime in 2013 overall was the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Wii generation of consoles, which gamers spent 34 percent of their time on last year. This category only slightly edged out PC, which made up 33 percent. In 2012, PC reigned king with 39 percent, compared to 37 percent for the seventh generation of consoles.
Newcomer consoles like the Wii U, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 made up just 4 percent of US gamers' playtime in 2013, though as adoption of these platforms continues to rise, this number is expected to grow. Nielsen's study was based on a survey of a representative sample of more than 2,000 US consumers aged 13 or older. It was conducted in Q4 2013 and Q1 2014.