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DICE 2009: NPD says six million new gamers came to play last year

The poor brains housed inside the skulls of the 2009 DICE Summit attendees were recently ravaged by an onslaught of gaming industry statistics -- though, really, if they willingly joined the audience of a speech being delivered by NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier, they probably knew what they were getting themselves into. Here were some of the highlights: According to the group's calculations, 58 percent of Americans ages 13 and up play video games, console-based online gaming increased by two percent over the past year and retail sales of PC games have declined by 50 percent over the past seven years.

However, here's the statistic that probably permeated the discussions of attendees as they left the conference hall: According to the NPD, last year saw nearly six million new gamers pick up their first controllers, a figure which lends itself to a retail market that is "very dominated by young people." The group's findings put digits to a familiar trend -- "the audience for some hardcore games is not as large as it is for more casual or family-friendly games," Frazier succinctly surmised. Seriously? We hadn't noticed.

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