NPD Group Releases 'Extreme Gamer' Statistics, Details Digital Distribution Growth

By Jeff Mattas, May 27, 2010 7:00pm PDT The NPD Group has released some new market research survey results related to American gaming habits, including so-called "Extreme Gamers," a subset that encapsulates the most active four percent of gamers in the United States.

Of the nearly 19,000 gamers questioned--some as young as 2 years old--the survey found that those classified as "Extreme Gamers" played an average of just over two full days per week, or 48.5 hours. It's a fairly dramatic number, considering that (as a whole) U.S. gamers spend an average of thirteen hours per week playing games.

Depending on their gaming habits, study participants were sorted into one of seven groups: Extreme Gamers, Avid PC Gamers, Heavy Portable Gamers, Console Gamers, Online PC Gamers, Offline PC Gamers, and Secondary Gamers.

Overall, hours spent gaming on PC and consoles have respectively increased six and nine percent over last year, though an exact breakdown was not provided. Handheld gaming, on the other hand, took a sixteen percent dive since last year.

The audience is also getting a bit older--the study found that gamers are now thirty-two years old on average, up from last year's thirty-one. The study surmises that "Avid PC Gamers" and "Offline PC Gamers" comprise the eldest segments of the gaming populace at a combined nineteen percent of overall gamers with an average age of forty-two years. The "Avid PC Gamer" segment is also the most heavily supportive of digital distribution, purchasing thirty percent of their games digitally in the past three months.

The report also notes that overall game sales made through digital distribution continue to rise, as seventeen percent of games were purchased digitally--up from sixteen percent last year. A per-platform breakdown of that figure was not provided, though the past year has seen PCs, consoles and handhelds further embrace digital downloads.

If you're curious about how NPD gathered its data, the methodology employed for the recent NPD survey is as follows:

In January 2010, The NPD Group fielded an online survey that was completed by 18,872 consumer panel members ages 2 and older. Responses for individuals ages 13 and older were captured directly, and responses for individuals ages 2-12 were captured by "surrogate reporting," 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. Final survey data was weighted and balanced to represent the U.S. population of individuals ages 2 and older.

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  • At 36, I just don't have time to play like I used to. It's annoying, because I used to play FPS shooters with the best of them, and it's aggravating to go onto BFBC2 or CoD and run into a jumpstrafing shotgun toter, because I really do feel like the old gunfighter who, 20 years ago would have obliterated this young, reckless cheap player, but now must just lay on the ground and bleed to death.

    Memorizing maps, having time to play with teams of people I know and trust, I just don't have the time. It's too bad, because some of the greatest moments of gaming only happen when you're really good at a particular game, and you have people you know to play with.

    Reading this article just reminds me of the "commitment" that has to go into truly being good at a game. I don't have it. My cheapo excuse is "I'm trying to get to level 80 in life, don't have time for games", but the part of me that used to play Street Fighter for hours and just obliterate challenger after challenger is a sad.

    I used to be an awesome gamer.