Research group's latest report finds gamer population in U.S. hits 211.5 million, down 5 percent year-over-year; mobile segment surpasses core.
A new report from research firm NPD Group claims the gamer population in the United States totaled 211.5 million in 2012, a 5 percent decline compared to last year. According to the latest available Census data, the total U.S. population stands at over 314 million.
The news comes from the firm's Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers report, which also revealed that the size of major gamer segments are changing, with mobile gamers in 2012 surpassing core gamers, which represented the largest segment in 2011.
According to analyst Anita Frazier, this is hardly surprising, given the protracted current generation of consoles and the rise of new platforms.
The report found that of the six gamer segments included in the findings, only mobile gamers (up 9 percentage points to 22 percent) and digital gamers (up 4 percentage points to 16 percent) increased year over year. The four other segments, which include core gamers, family and kid gamers, light PC gamers, and avid PC gamers, fell. The most precipitous decline came in the family and kid gamer segment, which lost 17.4 million gamers since last year.
An NPD representative explained to GameSpot that a person can belong only to one group. Additionally, the rep confirmed that a "digital gamer" is one that is "engaged in a variety of gaming, from PC to mobile, console to portable, online and offline."
The report also tracked money spent, finding that those who purchased games in the past three months spent an average of $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games (PC, console, and portable). Core gamers were the most readily willing to spend money, as this segment spent $65 on physical games over those three months, more than any other segment, the firm found.
Concerning money spent on microtransactions and additional digital game content, the report found that nearly 14 percent of total gamers made these purchases over the past three months, up from 11 percent in 2011. Core gamers and digital gamers made up the biggest contingent of spenders for microtransactions and add-on content, contributing 27 percent and 23 percent of sales, respectively.
The Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers report was based on 8,488 completed surveys, dispatched in March 2012 to members of NPD's online panel.
People are bored with current gen consoles. There has to be something new to keep people interested. Rehashing the same series' over and over is boring as hell. Publishers need to invest in new IPs and Sony/MS need to get their next consoles on the market this Fall
lol here we are in an age where economists are trying to make games to appeal to more new people in order to sell more games, when their core gamers are the largest target market anyways, and thats whose been neglected the most?
Too bad i didnt go to school to learn how to be so stupid...
I know my time is limited. The wife's gonna want kids soon, and combine that with work and going back for yet even more grad school and I may have to hang it up as I trudge into my 30s.
LOL @ "mobile surpasses core". Right because its news that more people own cell phones and computers than consoles.
Seriously, you call this news?!
I just payed today 100 euros for 3 games, (3rd Dark Souls(PC), 2 PS3 games). Basically I've bought like in 1 year, 50 physical ps3 games and same amount of PSN games and with Steam Summer sale got over 100 more games in 2 weeks. Where do I fit.
Companies are charging too much for games that deliver the same experience as previous entries in the series or copycat other games to death. If they all lowered their prices to $40 on software until the next generation, this trend would turn around.
I also believe that instead of doing one or two things really well, companies try to create games that do everything, and it turns into mediocre and boring gaming experiences (looking at you Darksiders 2, for example). It also makes development costs go up, that they all seem to complain about.
With over 3/4 of the population playing games, it's safe to say just about everybody who can play games does play games. Nothing really spectacular about these stats.
211.5 mil out of 314 mil? thats ~70% of the population. i have a feeling the statistics are overinflated
211.5 million is a good population of of 314 million people. 5% lost gamers is normal. Some people just give up playing videogames for whatever reason. So just about 2/3rd of the U.S.A plays videogames. What more do you want?
@Megavideogamer I agree with you, this seems like a normal fluctuation. Kid gamers became adult gamers, some older gamers "retire", some part-time gamers become bored and leave, the world keeps spinning. Considering everyone I know from family to friends to coworkers, 2/3rds being at least a little into gaming seems about right.
@dawnofhero have you seen the sad state of affairs in education... i doubt that that is the thing thats holding them back.
So on the same day that it's reported that the American gamer population is falling, EA announce that they're basically doing away with single-player games.
I wonder if the two could be connected...?
Its a little hard to spend $60 on a new game that just came out when you can easily get a discount in some good titles only by waiting a good season (like christmas or the black friday for instance). Well, don't get me wrong. I love videogames, but I can't afford to spend that much so often.
it doesnt surprise me....spending $60 on a new game is more expensive than buying a $6 game that you can access anywhere....
Easily expected. More people can't afford games let alone the expensive consoles that run them. Game developers are either trying too hard to be unique or are trying too hard to be safe. The gaming industry that I thought was invincible is being slowly reduced by the very people who should be making it better.
These numbers are surprising since so many gamers are out of work now. You can't buy games if you don't have money. The family and kid gamers % fell mainly because of the Wii. No one is buying Wii's or their games right now as the Wii U will be coming out at the end of the year. A lot of the core gamers who owned a Wii have also left, never to return. I definitely agree with these numbers. I would love to see the numbers for Europe and Asia as well.
That's no surprise. The industry is going down the wrong path, catering mostly to casual gamers that in the end could abandon the activity, Core is being neglected, with experiences getting shallower with time, challenge has been taken out of the equation, simulators are almost extinct, and we keep getting "cinematic" experiences. I might as well be a part of the declining statistics if this trend continues. Maybe I'll have to make a huge investment to upgrade my PC to current standards and completely abandon the pathetic console market. That is something I wanted to avoid.
@jagcivtec You should play Demons or Dark Souls, that should entertain you for awhile
The casual gamers were always to be a fickle group. They can't be relied on long term. The hardcore gamers can though. They still spent $65 on average. Their numbers didn't go down much. When all the new consoles are out, they will all be back.
"An NPD representative explained to GameSpot that a person can belong only to one group."
Idiotic measurement system...
I am not worried. It was already a given that mobile gaming would become the biggest segment. That's because it is the most accessible and it is largely "free". Personally I don't care for mobile and casual gaming. I think when the new systems come out or when casual players slowly upgrade to core because they realize angry birds won't cut it we will see more growth.
Once upon a time our streets are filled with kids playing cricket now its all empty reason is video games
It's probably the Wii. It was crazy popular here in the US. Grandparents were crowding around the TV, playing with their grandchildren. I even saw one in nursing home rec room. Casual players got bored with it. They were never really gamers, it was just something fun to do with family members/friends.
If it's true, I get the feeling abusive DRM has something to do with it. The online pass, always online, etc. sound like they have the potential to do this. Might be best to stop using them.
9,000 surveys? Basicly that means that the entire study is a whole bunch of guess work that is probably way off mark.
@hickabickabooya For a survey of about 95% accuracy, this is enough for US population. Didn't learn statistics right?
LOL, no, I did pretty well in college math. In fact, I learned enough to know that anything from surveys to voting can be adjusted to say what the user wants. However, in this case, my issue is more with the categories used and the narrow range of people surveyed (members of NPD?s panel).
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