Report: Majority of core gamers in the US prefer discs over digital

New study from the NPD Group finds that 74 percent of players would choose physical version over digital if pricing was the same.

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The majority of core gamers in the United States prefer to buy their games on physical discs rather than digitally, according to a new study from research firm the NPD Group. When pricing is the same, 74 percent of respondents said they would opt for a physical disc over a download. Though physical media still reigns king for core gamers, a preference for digital is growing, up 5 percentage points compared to last year, the NPD Group said.

Also in the report, titled Core Gaming 2014, the NPD Group found that there are 34 million core gamers total in the United States. These gamers spend an average of 22 hours per week playing video games, the report found.

The NPD Group defines core gamers are those people who play games for at least five hours per week on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, or Mac. In a statement, NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said he expects the average time spent playing games will only increase as a result of the launch of the Xbox One and PS4 console generation.

"Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice," Callahan said. "With the new console generation off to a great start, we can expect the amount of time spent gaming to increase as more core gamers adopt them."

Of the 34 million core gamers in the US, around two-thirds (22.6 million), said they also play games for smartphones and other mobile devices. Core gamers are also big fans of multiplayer games, the report found, noting that around 70 percent of core gamers play multiplayer titles regularly or occasionally.

"Core gamers are an important part of the games industry and understanding their behavior is critical to anyone invested in the games space--especially considering the launch of the new consoles and the continued evolution of digital gaming," Callahan said.

If pricing is the same, would you opt for the physical or digital version of a game? Let us know in the comments below!

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