Time spent gaming on the rise - NPD

Annual survey shows gamers averaging 13 hours of playtime a week; PCs and consoles being used more as portable popularity wanes.

Gamers are spending more and more time with their home consoles and less on their portable systems, according to the market research firm NPD Group.

The average time spent gaming on handhelds dropped 16 percent last year.

A survey conducted by the firm concluded that gamers over the age of 2 in the United States spent over 13 hours playing video games each week, up from 12.3 hours per week for the previous year. The uptick is based on a January 2010 online survey that garnered 18,872 responses.

The study also found that hours spent playing console games spiked the most dramatically, with the average time spent playing vaulting 9 percent from the year prior. Time spent with PC games rose 6 percent, and portable gaming dropped double digits, down 16 percent from 2009. Additionally, the study concluded that the age of the average gamer rose to 32 years old from 31.

According to the survey, the "extreme gamer" classification saw its weekly average hours spent playing games rise from nearly 40 to more than 48. The firm did not detail what criteria it used to include respondents in the "extreme" group, but did note that it makes up just 4 percent of the market.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

eddienoteddy

Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
82 comments
AC_SpecOps
AC_SpecOps

I am 12 years old and on a school day I probably play for about 6 hours or so. So that times 5 = 30 hours spent gaming. Then on the weekend it's probably about 12 hours, so that times 2 = 24. 30 plus 24 = 54 hours spent gaming/weekly. 54 hours/ 168 hours of my life spent gaming. That's about 1 third of my life/8 hours a day. So then you have the 2 week holidays every 10 weeks and then every 4th week a 7 week holiday. I hate people who constantly say, ''You have no life all you do is play video games''. This is not true. I am having plenty of fun playing video games and that is the type of person I am. There is nothing you can change about that. I really don't enjoy playing sports or going out in general. That doesn't mean I have ''No life''. I get really good grades ( A in both Maths and English), all the people at my school think I'm funny and no-one hates me. You make friends with someone when they like the same stuff as you do, and have the same sense of humour. Another thing people always say is ''Gaming makes you really anti social and getting involved in sports takes far more communication then playing video games. This is definitely not true. Every time I'm on the Xbox I'm talking to someone or a friend on the xbox, discussing strategy or just having fun talking in general. I am pretty much talking all the time, but sometimes I just like to go into a lobby and unplug my mic and sit back, relax and have some fun. You don't need to be talking to someone 24/7.  So I really only have one good friend, but the others and really my best friends. People really need stop hating on gamers. You don't know who I am and what I like. That's what makes everyone unique. Not liking the same stuff. Otherwise the world would be a really boring and dull place. When I get older I think I'm going to cut back on the gaming a bit to get a good job and girlfriend ;). But I'm still going to play video game, as It is really fun and it is what I enjoy doing.

dretos_uchiha
dretos_uchiha

To all those with responsibilities continue to handle your bizzness on and off the sticks. Had my first child almost a year ago which destroyed my long gaming nights after putting my wife to sleep but i never lost my love for gaming. I don't do the social sites like myface and twitbook or watch much tv so when ever im not working spending time with my family or my online classes i have a controller in my hands. Like a real gamer

Cyrax-QC
Cyrax-QC

I hate the fact that society has such a tainted view on video games and thinks gamers are lifeless etc., but it's unfortunately because of extreme gamers who prioritise games over real life responsabilities that the average person has a generalized view on gamers and thinks we're all the same. And I have seen some of those who are actually proud to make their life almost solely out of gaming.

Lucca202
Lucca202

Guess I'm not really in the extreme group - 48h is quite a lot, really - but I'm waaaaaaaay above average. I'd say I play about 20~30h a week, depending on college assignments or something else to do on the weekend. And I have been letting go of my DS and PSP (especially of the DS) since I got my PS3. Got quite a few DS games bought that I haven't touched yet. So I see what the survey means.

Brilliant_R
Brilliant_R

@ eutsgueden, I completely agree. I hate all these "gamers are lifeless and/or brainless geeks" stereotypes. Even though I have seen the amount of them decrease since the Wii's success (thank you Nintendo!), these "video games are bad" stereotypes still get on my nerves.

eutsgueden
eutsgueden

Unfortunately, that 4% in the "extreme" group represent us all to the media and the non-gamer public...

Charliesix
Charliesix

When I first started working at my job, I'd play PSP on the train ride home. But nowadays, my brain is too fried from staring at a computer screen for 8 hours at work, so I got tired of the PSP :-P

harold317
harold317

I think the huge success of the iphone/touch gaming comes from the fact that it offers games that are truly "pick-up and play" and you can stop playing them anytime, DS and PSP games try too hard to be console-like experiences on a portable, and most people already have bought huge tvs and sound systems for their actual home consoles...portable gaming needs to be simple and to the point. Nintendo seems to get that idea better than Sony, though.

harold317
harold317

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

zzamaro
zzamaro

I prefer to spend a lot of time on games than on a girlfriend, it's actually cheaper, today girls want you to spend much more money from what I was told, there's nothing about to spend it on a date but today girls want jewerly and more expensive just to keep a relationship, I know this because that's what I live in high school...sorry, i think I wrote too much but without all of that, some or everybody could have disagree without letting me give a reason (Sorry for bad English)

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

It only makes sense. Games are becoming more popular, TV is having less impact on society (gone are the days of Seinfeld-era sitcoms where everybody was tuning in) and games last hundreds of hours longer than movies.

taylor888
taylor888

It is truly better than watching 13 hours of TV, except somehow, it is perceived to be worse...

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

I have real world responsibilities, but I MAKE time for gaming. I don't drink or socialize, so I don't feel the need to go out partying or what have you. Like alot of us here, I started gaming back in the 80s with Atari 2600 and Collecovision, later moving on to my very own NES in '89. Depending on what I'm playing, I can easily be considered an "extreme" gamer.

Valacan
Valacan

@ch_ris127 Hey me too. I use my PSP at the gym for listening to music and haven't actually played a game on it in ages. It's a bit bulky but you know what else it is? already bought.

pokemondude2012
pokemondude2012

i got a dsi a while back and i have probobly only played it 30 hours. i just got it for pokemon ss.

mickomoo
mickomoo

yeah... I ripped my DS in half, there'll be no more portable gaming from me...

Zeus
Zeus

13 hours a week? Lightweights! I probably use my portable systems that much.

sebetai
sebetai

i have found myself playing my wii more than the ds lately.

Reiken37
Reiken37

I agree, but the DS does have some good games that have been released that are still worth buying. Mario Kart DS, Advanced wars days of ruin, Zelda Spirit Tracks, Soulsilver/heartgold, 30 or so others. But yeah, nothing new, Crime Scene looked really good but the bugs dissapointed.

Akanoryu769
Akanoryu769

They just don't have any great potable games coming out, if they made The World Ends With You 2, a new Jump! Stars game, or a Monster Hunter that we don't have to wait another year for portables would move up again. Instead the DS has a bunch of dumb games that aren't worth their boxart let alone $30. and the PSP has nothing really mentionable at all.

ch_ris127
ch_ris127

I haven't even touched my ds for the past two months, let alone my psp; which is becoming my new music device, not gaming. On the other hand, alot of new games (and fun ones) are coming to consoles, there're even games dating back to last year that I still need playing. No wonder the statistics are going bonkers.

archlvt
archlvt

Release Final Fantasy VI DS and see how quickly that number changes.

GREENSLIPPERS
GREENSLIPPERS

"extreme" average 50+ each week, beat red dead in 45 hours over 3 days.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Well for me gaming has probably been DOWN this past year since I've gone back to college. :P Kinda hard to keep up with all the new titles when you have big projects due.

Dan21278
Dan21278

i can't even fathom how much money I've wasted buying a game and trading it in game-stop and getting it for LESS than half price. Good times lol. Gaming has always been apart of my life always will BE

HappyApryl
HappyApryl

No real AAA titles on the handhelds for some time now. Releasing the same system over and over with minor improvements is old now. Can't wait to see what Nintendo and the 3DS is all about. It's suppose to be a new system all together. Now if Sony or Microsoft could come out with a new all together system I'd imagine handheld market would go back up. I've often wondered why Microsoft never tried the handheld market. They've been around a while now as far as gaming hardware and pretty much know what would or wouldn't work, but still no handheld? go figure.

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

The reason portable gaming is dropping is because there hasn't been a real new portable in how many years now? Nothing but rehashed DSes and now the PSP Go...Yea when you make something new and exciting you will see portable gaming increase. Stop rehashing your old systems nintendo and Sony. IF it looks like milking and it acts like milking...ITS MILKING! I guess gamers have been getting tired of being milked and getting the same system...

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

StarWatchers
StarWatchers

Wow im part of the 4 percent crowd.. I can average between about 50 to 60 hours a week so that would make me super extreme :)

master00d
master00d

i actualy spend like 2-3 houers play on ps3 nds and wii (im still waiting 360 to come with natal ready on the box) but when a new game comes out i play like 5-6 h/day so im not very surpized about the time,but im surpized about the age......i was aspecting like 27-28 Oo p.s they didnt mnention the facebook games coz the average will go like 6-7 h/d for person :P

Death_Knight9
Death_Knight9

i think this is bs becasue of world of warcraft

BTroxell
BTroxell

Who cares? Its not like I am going to set off a stopwatch before I play and turn it off when I am done. Why does it really need to be examined? As long as nobody thinks you are playing too much and you are still going to work and fulfilling all your roles and expectations I say game on, fill that free time up. People who can not make that free time for themselves aren't very efficient and usually end up being unhappy. I have friends who get a job and a gf (both of which I have) and then their hobbies disappear; Cause they are lazy and they would rather let the things they love doing slip away.

TheBatFreak777
TheBatFreak777

@RadView Actually, even people like Gallup can do very high quality surveys with low numbers. It is more about who are being surveyed than the actual number. There are actually basic formulas to gauge the number of people one should survey in order to gain X percentage of accuracy. Kind of crazy how some of that works.

Dynamo11
Dynamo11

Handhelds suck, poor graphics small screens and no blockbuster titles. Sony needs a BRAND NEW handheld and Microsoft need to develop one.

glennvolio
glennvolio

I barely touch my DS and am always playing my Xbox 360, so the exodus from handheld gaming to console gaming is not terribly surprising to me.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Why would I spend money going to a theatre that would last 3 hours buying poopcorn, drinks, etc to end up costing 40, or even more $, when I can just pop in Red dead Redemption and game for endless amounts of fun?

okassar
okassar

If you're in school/university or have a job, it's not good to go over 8 hours of gaming on a regular week because then either you're not studying enough or you have no social life on the weekends lol.

nate1222
nate1222

@Gorilla97 Agreed. While I don't game as much as I used to, I still game because it's "affordable fun". But with gaming costs growing more expensive, I've become a shrewd judge of COST-TO-VALUE ratio. Hense my love of the DS and my fondness of older PC games.

RadView
RadView

I think the average age gamer is far less. The older gamers tend to read these types of articles and participate in surveys where younger ones are playing the games mindless of what goes on behind these games. I personally am one of these type. 29 now and only done 1 or 2 surveys recently in my life so that would bring the age average up if i said i was 28 then 29 in the next survey. AAA games sell by the millions so 18,000 surveyed gamers is a fraction, the stats could change drastically if far more were surveyd, but like i said above they're to busy enjoying the games. As for average hours played daily, weekly, etc. that would change the older you are because of real world responsiblities getting in the way of good game time. I used to put in 10+ hrs some days no food, piss break here and there in FF games that would suck up good homework time...goodtimes ! Now a full time job, family, and other duties around the house im racking in 2 hrs a day if I can and thats usually only when my online friends are able to join in too. But I won't stop playing until the end of time as long as awesome games are being released. So in the next 20 years when average gamers are 50+ ill see you all there.

bschroth
bschroth

Feels like I've been gaming forever yet I'm only 26 years old. Started out with an Intellivision, then NES, Genesis, N64, PSone, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3. Then there's GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, DS. I already knew the average gamer is over 30, which is why I've always been annoyed by parents/politicians who complain about the violence in games. I wonder which group of gamers I would fall into. I can't even begin to think of the hours I've spent gaming. Nowadays I think I play probably 2-4 hours a day during the week, and waaaay more on weekends if I can manage to convince the gf.

nevryn
nevryn

Wow, 32 is the average gamer age now? Back when I did my first study 4 years ago it was 24. At this rate, they're going to have to start making games with much bigger fonts to read and slower controls in the next 10 years.

ctburesch
ctburesch

I started gaming in 1986 and have been playing more as the games and systems keep getting better...It is and always has been my preferred way to relax. I could go to the movies, but I built my living room nicer than most theaters and enjoy gaming and movies at home much more

Yuck_Too
Yuck_Too

@zakkess lol...it's called getting older...

grungeman91
grungeman91

I'm a college student and I play video games on my consoles about 5+ hours a day and that's a whole lot less than what I was playing back in my old middle school days which was almost 9+ hours a day, Also my handhelds are always used for on-the-go purposes.

CCGR_Pheonix
CCGR_Pheonix

I think I spent over 13 hours on Super Maio Galaxy 2 alone Monday through tuesday.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

/ "extreme" gamer here, and I do not play handhelds at all anymore unless I'm actually out and about, and the times that I can do that are few and far between (can't very well play a PSP when I'm driving to work, can I?) When I'm out, I'd rather be spending time with my friends than playing a portable game.

zakkess
zakkess

games dont keep me as hooked anymore, seems like ive spent my fair share of time gaming, now i just dont..its weird

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

@Gorilla97 That is an excellent point. It's ludicrous when you pay nine dollars for a movie (which I'll pay if the movie is good) but spend more than that on a single tub of popcorn and a drink, which is not an exaggeration at my theatre.