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PC No Longer Top Gaming Platform for Kids, New Report Finds

"The computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed."


The NPD Group on Wednesday released the results of its "Kids and Gaming 2015" report that offers insight into what platforms children ages 2-17 play the most. As it turns out, the PC is no longer the top platform.

The study found that mobile devices are now the most popular devices for gaming among children. 63 percent of children reported they play games regularly on mobile devices. By comparison, only 45 percent of children ages 2-17 reported that they play on a home computer, which is down 22 percent from 2013. This decline is seen within the entire age group, but is "most pronounced" for those ages 2-5, NPD said.

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Console gaming, which includes home consoles and dedicated portal devices such as Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, also fell in popularity for children. A specific percentage decrease figure was not shared, though the NPD said it was nowhere near the drop reported for PC gaming. However, console gaming is proving to continue to be popular with the 9-11 age group (41 percent).

"The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids' move away from the computer," NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. "In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position. This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers."

The report also found that time spent gaming on mobile devices is on the rise. 41 percent of children reported that they are spending more time now than they were a year ago; the average time spent gaming on mobile devices per week rose to 6 hours.

Time spent playing console games for children, meanwhile, was flat. However, gaming on eighth generation consoles (Xbox One and PlayStation 4) is going up, the report found.

The NPD's report also included numbers about how much money children are spending on games. For physical games, kids reported spending around $27 over the past three months. By comparison, they spent about $13 over the same period on digital games, an increase of about $5 on average. In terms of gender, across all categories, boys spent an average of $54, while girls spent about $36.

"Interestingly, while girls are more likely to game on their mobile device, average spending on gaming apps is the same for boys and girls," the NPD report found.

Finally, the study sheds some light on microtransaction spending. Two out of every 10 gamers reported that they are spending more on games and microtransactions than they did a year ago.

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