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Game Off: Number Of Americans Gaming Shrinks

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In yet another sign that the current generation of video game consoles is on life-support, NPD Group is reporting that the number of Americans playing video games shrank by 12 million in the past year. To put that in perspective, that's five percent of the American gaming market, or as if as many people as the entire population of Beijing or London just stopped playing video games. Given that the present slate of consoles (3DS and Vita notwithstanding) has been hanging around for the better part of a decade, a decline in interest should be expectable; however, these data include the recently-exploding smartphone and tablet gaming markets.

In fact, the only growth was seen in emerging markets. Mobile gamers and "digital gamers" (those who forego buying games on physical media) increased in number year-over-year, by nine percent and four percent respectively. Primarily-mobile gamers now account for twenty-two percent of the market, in fact; given the popularity of smartphone games and the consistently impressive numbers the 3DS is pushing, the increased size and clout of the mobile market follows logically.

The number of core gamers playing, meanwhile, dropped by two percent, last year accounting for twenty-one percent of gaming Americans. This makes sense, again, given how long-in-the-tooth the home consoles are. That said, core American gamers still spend more on gaming per capita than others do - though those numbers only account for purchases of physical media. The number of avid PC gamers also declined by two percent. In that category, NPD included both core gamers and casual gamers.

It is interesting to ponder, six years after the Wii and smartphone apps revolutionized the accessibility of the gaming market, that nearly eighty percent of gamers in the US are now not "core" console gamers.

5 Comments

Michael said:

I for one am glad they have stuck with current game consoles as long as they have. I got sick of nintendo constantly outdating their old games, forcing you to upgrade all the time. I left them because of it. And when the xbox goes to the newer system, I'm staying where I am. I love my 360. And when they make everything I've done over the years outdated, I'll be done with games all together. Besides, we get better games when the developers know the system better. They need to stop trying to force money making gimmicks down my throat like kinect and let me enjoy the good ol classics. And skyrim. XD

Didn't I just read this exact same thing at IGN?

In any case, I'd rather people just worry about making great games instead of worrying about making money. The two will come hand in hand eventually.

fillerbunny9 said:

I don't see Nintendo "outdating" anything any faster than any other game maker out there, not to mention that every generation of portables plays the previous generation's software. this generation has had a solid run, sure, but it is hitting about the time in its lifespan that the inevitable upgrades are coming.

the thing is, the Wii U was pretty underwhelming at PAX this year. I'm not sure that I really see its potential yet. I'll likely upgrade my 360 to whatever Microsoft shunts out, and get the PS4 or whatever Sony releases when there is a must buy exclusive for it. as much as I loved my PS2, my PS3 experience has soured me on Sony considerably in the face of how surprisingly stalwart my 360s have been in comparison.

Shin Gallon said:

Does it count if I've gone from doing about 40% of my gaming on PC to about 99% of it on PC over the last few years? I still play some PS3 games (usually exclusives, I buy all multi-platform releases on PC), but most of the time I turn the console on is to watch a Bluray or Netflix. I can't even remember the last time I turned on my 360 or Wii. Hell, the 360 isn't even hooked to the internet anymore.

destron760 said:

I'm not surprised because everyone now uses their gaming devices to watch Netflix.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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destron760 on Game Off: Number Of Americans Gaming Shrinks: I'm not surprised because everyone now uses their gaming devices to watch Netflix....

Shin Gallon on Game Off: Number Of Americans Gaming Shrinks: Does it count if I've gone from doing about 40% of my gaming on PC to about 99% of it...

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Randy "Dr Randle" Marr on Game Off: Number Of Americans Gaming Shrinks: Didn't I just read this exact same thing at IGN? In any case, I'd rather people just worry about making...

Michael on Game Off: Number Of Americans Gaming Shrinks: I for one am glad they have stuck with current game consoles as long as they have. I got sick...

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