According to Gamer Segmentation 2011: The New Faces of Gamers, the latest report from US data monitor NPD, Core Gamers, once considered to be the leading gaming segment, is facing rising competition from “Digital Gamers” for amount of time spent gaming and number of games acquired.
At 18 hours per week, Core Gamers still spend the most amount of time gaming, but Digital Gamers now spend 16 hours a week with games.
NPD didn’t specifically clarify what it means by “Core” and “Digital”.
The average number of games acquired by Core Gamers in the past three months is 5.4 games, while Digital Gamers are the heaviest game acquirers, reporting an average of 5.9 games acquired for any system or device over the same time period.
When looking at the number of digital games downloaded among those who acquired at least one game, it is Digital Gamers and Core Gamers who stand out with the highest number of digital games purchased; for both segments, more than one-third of the total games acquired are digital.
According to the report, Core Gamers represent the highest number of gamers (23 percent), followed by Family+Kid Gamers at 22 percent. Avid PC Gamers and Light PC Gamers both represent 15 percent of gamers, with Mobile Gamers and Digital Gamers trailing.
Most of the gamer segments are playing on at least three systems, NPD said.
“The name of the game in 2011 seems to be choice. Gamers are increasingly branching out to methods of play other than those that the industry has traditionally expected them to use,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.
“Fueled by the growth of smartphones and new tablet devices, mobile gaming continues to accelerate, and what a game is and what it means to be a gamer is evolving, reflecting the rapid nature of change within the industry.”
Digital distribution will move past traditional data delivery methods as the primary was gamers acquire content this year, EA boss John Riccitiello said in January.