PCs Played More Than Any Console, Reports NPD; PS3 Owners Most Likely to Have Multiple Consoles

PCs are used for gaming more than any console and PlayStation 3 owners are more likely to have multiple consoles, according to the results of the Games Segmentation 2008 report from sales tracking and research firm The NPD Group.

In addition to stating that PlayStation 3 owners are most likely to have other "next-generation" consoles than Wii and Xbox 360 owners, NPD claimed that only 10% of PS2 owners have a PS3. In the realm of portables, 45% of PSP owners have a Nintendo DS, but only 21% of DS owners have a PSP.

Despite the broad declarations, NPD did not provide specific figures for console and PC playtime. Likewise, an exact breakdown showing the ownership patterns of those that have multiple "next-generation" consoles was absent from the release.

Using information gathered back in January and February, the report separated the North American game-playing populace into the following seven categories, totaling 174 million gamers:

  • Young Heavy Gamers: 22%
  • Seconday Gamers: 20%
  • Console Games: 17%
  • Offline PC Gamers: 15%
  • Online PC Gamers: 14%
  • Avid PC Gamers: 9%
  • Extreme Gamers: 3%

The segments are categorized by usage, ownership and frequency numbers, though the specifics definitions were not provided.

Though PCs were "used more than any single console for gaming," NPD stressed that "Console Gamers, Young Heavy Gamers and Extreme Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play video games."

As for sales, NPD reports that 14% of games purchased between November 2007 and January 2008 were digital downloads. Extreme Gamers bought nearly 24 titles across the three month period, with NPD claiming that figure is "over seven times more than the second leading purchasing segment." "Although Extreme Gamers are heavily involved with the industry, they represent a small portion of the potential market for any new game that comes to market," commented analyst Anita Frazier. "In order to promote continued growth, we must better understand all of the gaming segments."

Details on the methodology of the report are as follows:

The data was collected from more than 20,000 members of NPD's online consumer panel, ages two to 65+. Responses for consumers ages six to 12 were captured by instructing a parent to take his or her child in this age range to the computer to answer the questions, either with or without the parent's assistance. Qualified respondents reported they personally play video games on a PC, on a console or portable system, or on another device such as a mobile phone. The following four key variables were used to create the gamer segments: ownership; usage; frequency; and purchased/received video games. Final survey data was weighted to represent the U.S. population of individuals ages 2 and older. Fieldwork was conducted from January 11-February 5, 2008.

Note: This study was conducted in January, meaning that questions that refer to consumer behavior in the past three months include the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays.