New study finds that smallest group of US gaming population buys the most games. 33% are avid PC gamers

3 July 2007
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A new survey from the NPD Group is out called “Gamer Segmentation II” and it gives a detailed demographic breakdown of the estimated 191 million gamers in the United States who buy and play video games, both PC and console (includes portables like the DS & PSP).

And the survey found, not surprisingly, that the hardcore gamers are also the biggest spenders. The survey interviewed 11,638 gamers aged 6 to 44 and sifted through their responses to get the results.

NPD divided gamers into six different segments: Avid PC Gamers, Secondary Gamers, Avid Console Gamers, Mass Market Gamers, Casual Kid Gamers, and Heavy Gamers.

Here’s the breakdown:

* 33% of US gamers are “Avid PC Gamers”. They play an average 13.6 hours per week primarily on a PC or Macintosh computer. They buy an average of 1.4 titles per quarter.

* 22% of the US gamers are “Secondary Gamers”. They play just 6.5 hours a week, mainly on a PC or Mac. Only a third own a PS2 (the most popular console). They buy an average of 0.8 games each quarter, the smallest number of any otehr group.

* 20% are “Avid Console Gamers”, the biggest group of non-PC players, who play around 10.7 hours per week on at least one console, owning an average of 1.6 consoles and 0.8 portables. They buy an average of 1.9 games per quarter.

* 15% are “Mass Market Gamers.” They play an average of 8.9 hours each week, mainly on the PS2 and PC. Oddly, this section boasts a higher average console ownership, 1.8 consoles, than Avid Console Gamers.

* 8% are “Causal Kid Gamers.” As the name implies, this is the youngest group, composed almost entirely of children ages 6-12. They own an average of one console and 0.5 portables, primarily the PS2 and Game Boy Advance. Likely due to parental oversight, this group games the least, just 3.6 hours per week, and ties Secondary Gamers’ average of 0.8 game purchases per quarter.

* 2% of the U.S. gaming population are “Heavy Gamers”, the most hardcore of all. Although they make up just 2 percent of the gaming public, “Heavy Gamers” own an average of 2.8 consoles and 1.9 portables. They play a whopping 39.3 hours a week, mainly on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, and buy a budget-busting average of 13.1 games per quarter, or roughly 4.5 games each month!

Though small, numbering around 3.8 million, this last group’s spending habits make it coveted by publishers and console makers alike.

“Heavy gamers have always been a focal segment for the games industry because they’re so deeply invested in gaming,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “The potential for industry growth lies with the other, larger groups, and getting them increasingly involved in gaming over time.”

Besides buying in bulk, Heavy Gamers are also the most likely to buy games via digital download. However, they are trumped by Avid PC Gamers, who have the highest number of individuals who have purchased over half their games via online delivery. Three of every five Heavy Gamers buy game content via microtransactions like those on the PlayStation Store, Wii Virtual Console, or Xbox Live Marketplace.

Heavy Gamers are also the most likely to play games online, with 83 percent of the group taking on opponents over the Internet. No doubt boosted by the popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, 74 percent of Avid PC Gamers play over the Web.


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Josh Romero By Josh Romero: He is a lover of videogames, as well as metal music, Gilmore Girls, chatting, social networking, Phoenix Suns, reading, writing and many other nerdy things. Read his posts here and connect with him on Youtube.

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