Large percentage of players buy games after watching streams, NPD reports

New data also revealed new findings on the habits of eSports-focused players. 


A new report published by NPD Group suggests streaming games is good for more than peeking at new Dark Souls areas prior to release and spamming Twitch chat with Kappa emoticons.

The market research firm published findings yesterday on the viewing habits of 4,029 male and female players age nine and older during early February. According to NPD, "44 percent of current gamers have watched either formal eSports competitions or informal video streaming of gameplay in the past six months," and "69 percent have purchased either a full game or downloadable content because they saw someone playing it online."

The report digs into nitty gritty details from there. It notes, for instance, that 18 percent of participants watched some type of game-related streaming content on a daily basis, and that most viewing session lasted an average of three hours. That's a lot of Kappa faces.

Most significantly, NPD's findings make no bones about the growing interest surrounding eSports. What started as a niche hobby "has clearly taken off with strong activity and engagement with consumers," according to industry analyst Liam Callahan, who cited results pointing to the game being played, rather than the personality playing the game, that pulls in the most viewers.

"What's the point in watching other people play games I own?" you ask. Why, edification, of course! Two-thirds of participants in the study confirmed they were more interested in streaming games they were currently playing—which, presumably, they bought after seeing them in action on a stream.

"This parallels another strong motivator to watching others play: wanting to better understand a game that they know little about," according to NPD's research.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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