NPD has released its Online Gaming 2013 report, and it finds that 72% of US gamers play video games online, a 5% increase year-over-year.
The number of hours spent playing games across all devices was also up compared to 2012 by 9%, with online gaming hours up 6% year-over-year.
“Besides the size of the gaming audience and sales performance, one of the key metrics for the industry to watch is the time gamers spend playing games,” said Liam Callahan, NPD analyst.
“This study found that the overall amount of time spent gaming, and time spent gaming online increased across virtually every type of device, and notably so, versus 2012.”
The PC was the top platform for online gaming with 68% of those polled citing use of the system, which is a 4% decline over 2012. Online gaming on mobile devices, on the other hand, was up 12% over 2012 figures.
Despite the increase in online gaming, gamers still preferred physical copies over digital versions – even when pricing was the same. 62% surveyed preferred physical format over digital.
While a high figure, it is a 3% decline, meaning digital preference figures are up over 2012.
“While many gamers prefer games in the physical format, the increased availability of digital content paired with a greater amount of connected devices has driven an increase in the number of consumers going online to access the content they want,” said Callahan.
NPD conducted its research from February 15 through March 4, 2013 via members of NPD’s online panel, with 8,867 participants aged 2 and older. Those under 16 years of age responded with an adult parent or guardian present.
“Gamers” were defined as those who “currently personally play games on at least one of the systems/devices,” measured in the report. Online gamers were defined as those who play games online on at least one of the systems/devices measured.