NPD Group releases Games Segmentation 2008 Report

The market research firm the NPD Group recently released its 2008 Games Segmentation Report which reveals some staggering numbers.

According to the US Census population clock, there are currently 304 million Americans.  This includes all living breathing persons within the American borders.  While some of these people do not fall into the range of NPD’s survey (ages 2-65+), NPD found that there are approximately 174 million Americans playing games.  Even if we were to take the entire US population, that means that 1 out of every 2 Americans is playing some type of game on some type of platform.

The report divides the total number of gamers into 7 distinct “gamer segments” and analyzes their usage and ownership patterns.  The breakdown looks like so:

  • 3% are Extreme Gamers
  • 9% are Avid PC Gamers
  • 17% are Console Gamers
  • 14% are Online PC Gamers
  • 15% are Offline PC Gamers
  • 22% are Young Heavy Gamers
  • 20% are Secondary Gamers

Young heavy gamers make up the majority of the survey with a whopping 38 million strong.  These gamers tend to favor portable platforms, make up at least one third of the system owner’s group with 6 out of every 10 owning a DS and/or PSP.

On the other side of the coin, Extreme Gamers, those classified as playing a total of 22.3 or more hours per week, and having purchased nearly 24 titles across all their gaming platforms in the past three months, show a strong preference for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

“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,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “In order to promote continued growth, we must better understand all of the gaming segments.”

While the PC is used more than any single console for gaming, Extreme Gamers, Console Gamers, and Young Heavy Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play.

The study also found that Console Gamers; those that play on a console system, on average 8.2 hours/week, and purchased 3.2 games in the past three months, that own a PS3 are most likely to own other current gen consoles.  In contrast, only 10% of PS2 owners also own a PS3.

Regarding micro transactions, the NPD Group found that more than half of the Extreme Gamers and just over a third of Avid PC Gamers said that they would definitely download a feature to enhance a specific game that they own.

Speaking of downloads, 14% of games purchased in the past threee months across all segments were digitally acquired, with Avid PC Gamers making 27% of their purchases digitally.

About the NPD Group Study:

The data was collected from more than 20,000 members of NPD’s online consumer panel, ages two to 65+.  Responses for consumers ages two 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 two 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.

Games Segmentation 2008 differs from Gamer Segmentation II (May 2007) primarily in the revised sampling methodology and the revised and updated Segment definitions. Gamer Segmentation II used a sample of individuals age 6 to 44. Games Segmentation 2008 uses a sample of individuals 2 to 99. By including all gamers, NPD will be able to continue to use and trend these segments for future waves.

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