According to "Gamer Segmentation 2010," the most recent report from market research company The NPD Group, the "extreme gamers" segment, which represents four percent of the total U.S. gaming population, spend 48.5 hours, or slightly more than two full days a week playing games. Overall, U.S. gamers ages two and older spend 13 hours per week playing games, up from 12.3 hours in 2009, the report found.
When looking at the number of hours gamers spend per week playing video games, hours spent playing both console and PC games showed a marked increase over last year's study, with console games increasing nine percent and PC games increasing six percent. The number of hours gamers spent playing portable games saw a decline of 16 percent. The average age of gamers increased slightly over last year from 31 years of age in the 2009 study to 32 years in this year's study, the report found. NPD said avid PC gamers and offline PC gamers, comprising 11 percent and 8 percent of the gaming population, respectively, are the oldest segments with an average age for both of 42 years.
The study, which provides a detailed look at the behaviors of gamers, including download purchases, micro-transactions, and prices consumers are willing to pay for digital downloads, contains three years of trended data as well as insight into consoles, smartphones, portable gaming platforms, portable digital music players, laptops, and personal desktops. Based on these behaviors, NPD grouped gamers into seven distinct segments: extreme gamers, avid PC gamers, heavy portable gamers, console gamers, online pc gamers, offline pc gamers, and secondary gamers.
"With these kinds of shifts in the composition of the gaming consumer and changes in gaming behavior, it's clear that the need to understand gamers and their purchase patterns remains critical information to those that develop, market and sell games," said Anita Frazier, an industry analyst for The NPD Group.
According to the report, 17 percent of games were purchased digitally, up slightly from 16 percent last year. Avid PC gamers, representing 11 percent of the gaming population, are the most heavily involved in digital purchasing with 30 percent of their past three month purchases having been acquired digitally, NPD said. The report found for games that were either purchased or received by gamers in the past three months, both console and portable games experienced increases over last year's study, by 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
In January 2010, NPD fielded an online survey that was completed by 18,872 consumer panel members ages two and older. Responses for individuals aged 13 and older were captured directly, and "surrogate reporting" captured responses for individuals aged 2-12, whereby a parent/guardian brings the child to the computer to answer questions, and the child then answers either with or without the guardian's assistance, the company explained. Final survey data was weighted and balanced to represent the U.S. population of individuals ages two and older.