Online gaming up 10% in 2010 - NPD

Industry tracking firm says PC tops Internet gaming, 360 most-played console; multiplayer gamers buy 20% of software as downloadable wares.


The NPD Group may not report digital sales as part of its monthly US sales recaps, but it still keeps tabs on the online gaming scene. As part of the results of a new market research study announced today, the industry-tracking firm found that online gaming has grown 10 percent since 2009.

Microsoft's console remains the most-played system in 2010.
Microsoft's console remains the most-played system in 2010.

The study, aptly titled Online Gaming 2010, also found that for the third consecutive year, those who play games online are increasingly purchasing their wares as digital downloads. Online gamers on average bought 20 percent of their software through digital distribution channels, up from 19 percent in 2009 and 18 percent in 2008, NPD found.

Online gaming statistics weren't all on the rise, though. NPD's study indicates that of the gamer population, 54 percent said they play games online, down from 56 percent in 2009 and 55 percent in 2008. Those gamers who do play online, though, are spending more time doing it. Online gaming increased to an average of eight hours per week in the 2010 study, up from 7.3 hours in 2009.

"While the percentage of the population that reports playing games has declined slightly, this study details other metrics, which point to both stability and growth in both online and offline gaming," commented NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

The PC remains the go-to online gaming platform, with 85 percent of respondents saying they use the desktop to play networked games. Some 48 percent of Xbox 360 gamers use the console for online gaming. Microsoft's console maintains a marked gap over the PlayStation 3 and Wii, where only 30 percent of gamers play online. The Xbox 360 also remains the most-played console at 7.3 hours per week, compared to 6.6 hours for PC gamers and 5.8 hours for the PS3.

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