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NPD report suggests 'core gamer' population is dropping in the U.S.
NPD report suggests 'core gamer' population is dropping in the U.S.
May 14, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

May 14, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Based on the results of its annual "Core Gaming" survey, the NPD Group claims that there are 34 million "core gamers" in the United States who are spending an average of 22 hours per week playing games, down from the 37.5 million "core gamers" the firm reported last year.

NPD Group analysts surveyed 7,927 U.S. citizens ages nine and up last March to learn more about their video game playing and, specifically, what the habits of "core gamers" were in 2014. They defined a "core gamer" as someone who plays specific genres of games (basically, anything that's not a puzzle game) on PCs or non-Nintendo home consoles an average of five hours or more per week.

The firm also claims that only 26 percent of those surveyed preferred to buy digital copies of games rather than physical if the price was the same. That's actually a modest increase over last year, in which only 21 percent of those surveyed expressed a preference for buying digital.

A sample of the report is available on the NPD Group website, though you have to provide your contact information to get it.


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Comments


John Flush
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Does the report define what 'Core Gamer' is? Is it based on time spent? title preference?

Myself personally, I definitely spend less time gaming now and have also increased my preference toward digital.

Kris Graft
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From the article: "They defined a "core gamer" as someone who plays specific genres of games (basically, anything that's not a puzzle game) on PCs or non-Nintendo home consoles an average of five hours or more per week."

It's a weird definition imo, but yeah! There it is.

Michael Joseph
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There must be lots of gamers in their 30s and 40s who have essentially stopped gaming. It's probably to be expected that people who have been gaming for 25+ years would grow out of them once the games stopped growing with them.

What I want to know is, what are gamers who have only started gaming within the last ten to fifteen years doing? Are they already gaming significantly less than they were a year ago?

I wonder who is more optimistic about the future of games... the young gamer or the old gamer? I get a sense that older gamers having a better knowledge of gaming history will have developed a deeper picture of the possibilities and may be more optimistic long term... even if they're gaming less today.

Older gamers have seen incredible advances in technology from the days of Pong, Combat and 'Venture on the Atari 2600 to Titan Fall and Need for Speed: Rivals on the XB1. But if you're 21 years old and were age 8 when the first Xbox came out thirteen years ago and have grown up on action shooters like Halo, you may have a very different perception of what games are (good) for. Older gamers remember PBeM turn based games that took days between turns. Young gamers have come of age just when games started to lose all their charm and subtlety. They've come of age where the peak concern of developers was making "console friendly" and "accessible" games (euphemisms for in your face ADHD friendly gameplay) that have the subtlety of a 2 Live Crew video.

Dane MacMahon
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I'm constantly tempted to stop "core" gaming. Then some RPG my forum friends praise gets me to come back to it. Then Kickstarter happened and a lot of RPGs like those of my youth are coming out, so now I might be set for another decade.

Still, one day I imagine it will be pure nostalgia, and very little new stuff will be played. I feel like a lot of people reach that point where they consume very little new media.

Richard Vogel
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Well, from a 43 year old, I still consume as much media as I can, when I can. But its more a question of time and responsibility. I have a family I'm still raising (it takes a long time) and I have a career where I'm becoming a manager. I've been lucky to get an hour a night to play the games I like.

As for new stuff, I still play new games, even with the nostalgia bug. I've recently played Bioshock Infinite and the Last of Us, which are only a year old. But, I am also playing the latest Thief, and I will be getting Wasteland 2 and Torment, so I guess Nostalgia plays a part in what new stuff I will be playing. But, really all games are nostalgic at my age. Most games are rehashes of games I've played before with different packaging. What I have noticed is games have mostly gotten simpler, and I prefer some complexity in my gaming (and tv, movies, and music). I think getting older means you've seen more and notice patterns. You want to break out of the mold, so you stop looking at the mainstream and go in places the mainstream don't. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to find, as its far cheaper and easier to stream out the same stuff that worked before and rehash the same stories. I honestly look to indie and kickstarter games more now because I know they will be more unusual while hitting the nostalgia kick.


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