A recent snippet of The NPD Group’s “Entertainment Trends in America” survey reveals that over the past six months, more Americans have turned to casual gaming and downloadable content over a night out at the cinema. Close to 2 out of 3 Americans (63 percent) indicated that they’ve played a video game, while just over half have been out to the movies (53 percent) during the same period.
The survey also indicates that the increase in gaming is directly correlated to the increased availability and visibility of new and existing outlets for playing. While not an overwhelming number, overall 10 percent indicated that they’d played a game on a social network, and 5 percent said that they’d paid to download a game from the web, a 2 percent increase from the same question last year.
“Video games account for one-third of the average monthly consumer spending in the U.S. for core entertainment content, including music, video, games,” said Anita Frazier, video games industry analyst for NPD. “While a portion of that share stems from the premium price of console games, we’re also seeing an overall increase in the number of people participating in gaming year-over-year.”
Clearly, as NPD’s Q1 2009 update to the “Entertainment Trends in America” survey includes data noting that the average gamer spent just over $38 per month on any and all types of gaming content. Over the past year, NPD found that almost 1 in 3 (31 percent) of gamers purchased either a console or portable game, representing a .7 percent increase year-over-year. Most interestingly, these ‘traditional’ gamers seem to be branching out, as among consumers who regularly play console or portable games, 31 percent indicated that they’d also played a game on a gaming website. 19 percent are playing on their mobile phones, 12 percent on a social networking site, and 11 percent purchased and downloaded a game to their mobile.
“As with video and music, sales of physical gaming products still account for the bulk of consumer spending on video games, but digital downloads and other delivery and game-play formats are also rising in popularity,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.