According to Online Gaming 2010, the most recent report from leading market research company The NPD Group, the average number of hours spent each week on online gaming has increased 10 percent since 2009, while an average of 20 percent of all games purchased by online gamers were digitally downloaded - up from 19 percent in the 2009 study and 18 percent in the 2008 study.
Of those gamers ages 2 and older reporting that they personally play video games on at least one type of system, 54 percent report that they personally play games online, down slightly since the 2009 and 2008 studies (56 percent and 55 percent, respectively).
The average number of hours spent per week on online gaming has gone up from 7.3 hours per week in the 2009 study to 8.0 hours per week in the 2010 study. This means that, despite the dip in the overall incidence of online game play, those who are playing, are spending more time playing than they did last year.
“While the percentage of the population that reports playing games has declined slightly, this study details other metrics which point to both stability and growth in both online and offline gaming,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.”
According to the report, 71 percent of online gamers reported that they purchased or received a game(s) over the 2009 holiday season (Oct.-Dec.). There were no significant changes with regard to the percent of online gamers reporting acquisition from 2008 to 2010, and also no significant changes regarding average volumes acquired from 2008 to 2010. This suggests that online gamers’ purchasing behavior may not have been impacted significantly by the recession and may bode well for future pockets of economic weakness.
“The installed base of video game systems continues to grow, the platforms available to play games continue to expand, and the options for content acquisition have never been greater, especially online,” said Frazier. “And yet, effective monetization of many forms of online gaming continues to be a topic of much debate and discussion within the industry.
Mobile gaming, for instance, has advanced to play a bigger role and the iPhone, in particular, is attracting a lot of attention given the dizzying array of game apps available for this device. Social networks have emerged as the hot venue for online gaming, due to the huge number of subscribers these are attracting. But still, it’s unclear which business models are working in this space.”
The PC is still the most-used system for online gaming, with 85% of online gamers reporting using a PC for online gaming activities. Among non-PC systems, the Xbox 360 maintains its leadership for the third year in a row as the top video game system used for online gaming at 48%. In contrast to 2009, when Wii was leading over PS3 by 8 percentage points, PS3 and Wii are now neck and neck, with about 30 percent of online gamers reporting that they use each system for online gaming. This is due to an increase in use for online gaming on the part of the PS3, which increased 10 percentage points since last year. The top three systems with the highest average hrs/wk spent gaming online (using the respective systems they own) are: Xbox 360 (7.3 hrs), PC (6.6 hrs) and PS3 (5.8 hrs).
Data was collected via online survey. Fieldwork was conducted from January 4 – 19, 2010. The survey was completed by 18,872 NPD Consumer Panel members ages 2+. Respondents age 2-12 were captured via surrogate reporting. Final survey data was weighted and balanced to represent the U.S. population of individuals ages 2+. In order to qualify for the survey, respondents had to report that they personally use at least one system or device for gaming. In order to qualify as an online gamer, respondents had to use at least one system or device for online gaming. Both online gamers and gamers overall (whether online or offline) were included in the study.
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About the Author
John Gaudiosi has been covering videogames for the past 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, CNET, Wired Magazine and CBS.com. He has focused on the convergence of entertainment and videogames for outlets like Video Business, Home Media Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Gamerlive.TV and is also a freelance game columnist for Reuters and writes for outlets like Forbes.com, NVISION, Official PlayStation Magazine, EGM Now, Geek Monthly, PrimaGames.com, and Yahoo! Games. John also serves as the video game expert for NBC in Washington D.C. and has produced videogame documentaries for The History Channel and Starz Entertainment. John was named one of the Top 50 Game Journalists in the world by Next-Gen.biz in 2007. He is the co-author of Scholastic Books' How to Get into Videogames, Prima Publishing's Madden: Twenty Years of Videogame Football and Electronic Arts: The Official History.