NPD: Number of US mobile gamers surpasses core, totals down

NPD Number of US mobile gamers surpasses core, totals down
There are 211.5 million people playing games in the United States, a loss of 12 million players (5 percent) from 2011's numbers, the NPD reports. Not all of the gaming categories lost players, however: Mobile gamers rose 9 percentage points to take 22 percent, and digital gamers gained 4 percentage points to 16 percent. This makes mobile gamers the largest audience segment, surpassing core gamers, which held the top spot in 2011.

The remaining categories – core, family and kid, light PC, and avid PC gamers – lost 17.4 million people this year. This is a "slight decline," the NPD says.

"Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it's not surprising to see a slight decline in the core gamer segment," Anita Frazier, industry analyst for the NPD, says. "It's the revenue contribution of the core gamer segment that continues to outpace all other segments, and remains vital to the future of the industry."

People buying games spent an average of $48 on physical copies and $16 on digital games from June to August. Core gamers spent the most on physical games, at $65. Almost 14 percent of all gamers purchased microtransactions or additional game content in the past three months, up from 11 percent in the same period in 2011; 27 percent of core gamers and 23 percent of digital gamers purchased in-game content.
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THE U.S. EXPERIENCES DECLINE IN TOTAL NUMBER OF GAMERS

Mobile Gamers Now Represent the Largest Gamer Segment

Port Washington, NY, September 5, 2012 – According to Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers, the latest report from leading market research company, The NPD Group, there are an estimated 211.5 million gamers in the U.S. that play video games, a 5 percent decline, or loss of close to 12 million gamers, when compared to 2011.

Of the six gamer segments in the report, only Mobile Gamers and Digital Gamers saw increases in the number of gamers when compared to 2011, with Mobile Gamers up 9 percentage points to 22 percent and Digital Gamers up 4 percentage points to 16 percent. All other gamer segments, which include Core Gamers, Family+Kid Gamers, Light PC Gamers, and Avid PC Gamers, experienced declines, with Family+Kid gamers experiencing the most significant decline of an estimated 17.4 million gamers.

"Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it's not surprising to see a slight decline in the Core Gamer segment," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "It's the revenue contribution of the Core Gamer segment that continues to outpace all other segments, and remains vital to the future of the industry."

The size of key gamer segments are shifting, with Mobile Gamers now representing the largest gamer segment, edging out Core Gamers, which was the largest segment in 2011.

"While this study segments the gaming audience based on a number of key variables and attributes, looking across the total gaming audience we see a tremendous impact from mobile gaming, particularly on smartphones and tablets," said Frazier. "Because of this, our next study, which will be released later this month, takes a deeper look into the area of mobile gaming."

Money Spent
Game purchasers reported spending an average of $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games-PC/console/portable in the past three months. Core Gamers spent $65 on physical games over the same time period; this is more than any other gamer segment.

Close to 14 percent of total gamers report that they purchased microtransactions/additional game content in the past three months versus 11 percent during the same time period in 2011, with Core Gamers and Digital Gamers being the largest consumers of these types of purchases at 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Methodology
An online survey was fielded in March 2012 to members of NPD's online panel. Responses for kids under age 13, as well as some kids in the 13-15 age range, were captured through surrogate reporting (where the parent answers on behalf of the child). The data is weighted and representative of the US population ages 2 and older. The study is based on 8,488 completed surveys.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit http://www.npd.com/, or follow us Twitter at https://twitter.com/npdgroup.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.