NPD: More people spending more time gaming online

It may sound like a foregone conclusion, but the NPD Group has proven (with maths) that more people are spending more time playing video games online, at least compared to last year. The study, titled "Online Gaming 2013," poled 8,867 folks above the age of two and found that 72 percent of game-playing individuals played online – a five percent increase over 2012.

The average amount of time spent gaming online per week also increased by six percent, though the NPD Group did not disclose a specific figure for that statistic. PCs had the largest majority of online users at 68 percent – meanwhile, mobile online gaming saw a year-over-year increase of 12 percent.

The NPD Group did not list any reasons for the overall year-over-year increase in online gaming, but we're going to go out on a limb and guess that, by and large, it's because the world is mostly a terrible place full of awful people that should be avoided at all costs. Either that, or Steam sales.
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PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, May 2, 2013 – According to Online Gaming 2013, the latest report from global information company, The NPD Group, 72 percent of U.S. gamers report gaming online. This represents an increase in incidence of 5 percentage points among gamers from 2012.

Along with the rise in online gaming, there was also an increase in the number of hours spent playing games across the majority of devices surveyed. This led to an overall increase in the average number of hours played per week for gaming overall, up 9 percent, and for gaming online, up 6 percent.

"Besides the size of the gaming audience and sales performance, one of the key metrics for the industry to watch is the time gamers spend playing games," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "This study found that the overall amount of time spent gaming, and time spent gaming online increased across virtually every type of device, and notably so, versus 2012."

Across all platforms measured in the report, the PC ranks as the top platform for online gaming with 68 percent reporting that they use a PC for online gaming. This represents a 4 percentage point decline over last year, and online gaming on mobile devices is quickly catching up. In fact, mobile devices saw a 12 percentage point increase in online gaming since last year.

Acquiring digital content seems like a behavior that would be preferred among online gamers, but when asked about purchasing a game in a physical or digital format where pricing and availability were consistent, 62 percent preferred games in the physical format. This is a 3 percentage point swing in preference towards the digital format when compared to last year.

"While many gamers prefer games in the physical format, the increased availability of digital content paired with a greater amount of connected devices has driven an increase in the number of consumers going online to access the content they want," said Callahan.

An online survey was fielded from February 15, 2013 to March 4, 2013 to members of NPD's online panel. The survey was completed by 8,867 individuals ages 2 and older. For children under the age of 16, respondents were contacted using a parental surrogate, with the parent being asked to bring the child to the computer to answer the survey questions.

Gamers were defined as those who currently personally play games on at least one of the systems/devices measured in the report. Online Gamers were defined as those who personally play games online on at least one of the systems/devices measured.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.