‘Extreme Gamers’ Play 45 Hours of Videogames a Week

August 20, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Videogames | Youth & Gen X

“Extreme Gamers” spend an average of 45 hours a week playing videogames and have purchased 24 titles in the previous three months*, according to Games Segmentation 2008, the report from the NPD Group.

The NPD report provides analysis of seven gamer segments, defined by ownership, usage, and frequency. It identifies the videogame platforms and genres, as well as retailers that appeal to various gamer segments.

Of the 174 million gamers who play games on PC/Mac or videogame systems, 3% are Extreme Gamers, 9% are Avid PC Gamers, 17% are Console Gamers, 14% Online PC Gamers, 15% are Offline PC Gamers, 22% are Young Heavy Gamers and 20% are Secondary Gamers.

The Extreme and Young Heavy Gamers over-index on every videogame system, with the Extreme Gamer showing a strong preference for PS3 and 360 and the Young Heavy showing a strong preference for portables.

Additional findings:

  • With over 38 million gamers, Young Heavy Gamers is the largest and one of the heaviest gaming groups in the US.
  • Given their size and heavy gaming characteristics, Young Heavy Gamers typically make up at least one-third of any system’s owners and tend to gravitate toward portable platforms.
  • For Nintendo DS (NDS) and PlayStation Portable (PSP), six out of every 10 owners are Young Heavy Gamers.
  • Console Gamers is the second largest segment of the owner base of any system, with the exception of the NDS and PSP.
  • According to the report, while the PC is used more than any single console for gaming, Console Gamers, Young Heavy Gamers, and Extreme Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play videogames.

“Although Extreme Gamers are heavily involved with the industry, they represent a small portion of the potential market for any new game that comes to market,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, the NPD Group. “In order to promote continued growth, we must better understand all of the gaming segments.”

Ownership, Time and Wallet Share

  • Among next-generation console owners, PlayStation 3 owners – as opposed to Wii and Xbox 360 owners – are most likely to own other next-generation consoles.
  • While 45% of PlayStation Portable owners also own a Nintendo DS, only 21% of Nintendo DS owners also own a PlayStation Portable. Only 10% of PlayStation 2 owners also own the PlayStation 3.
  • Console Gamers and Extreme Gamers dominate in terms of the number of hours spent playing videogames per week, with an average of 8.2 hours per week and 22.3 hours per week, respectively.
  • As for purchasing power, Extreme Gamers lead all segments, buying nearly 24 titles across all their systems in the past three months – over seven times more than the second leading purchasing segment, Console Gamers, who on average purchased only 3.2 games in the past three months.

The Advent of Digital Purchases

  • In total, gaming consumers indicated approximately 14% of games purchased in the past three months were digital downloads.
  • Avid PC Gamers had the highest incidence with 27% of their purchases being digital.
  • In terms of content, more than half of Extreme Gamers and just over one-third of Avid PC Gamers stated they would definitely download a feature to enhance a specific game that they own.

*This study was conducted in January 2008; therefore, questions that refer to consumer behavior in the past three months include the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays.

About the report: The data was collected from more than 20,000 members of NPD’s online consumer panel, age 2-65+. Responses for consumers age 2-12 were captured by instructing a parent to take his or her child in this age range to the computer to answer the questions, either with or without the parent’s assistance. Qualified respondents reported they personally play videogames on a PC, on a console or portable system, or on another device such as a mobile phone. The following four key variables were used to create the gamer segments: ownership; usage; frequency; and purchased/received videogames. Final survey data was weighted to represent the US population of individuals ages two and older. Fieldwork was conducted from January 11-February 5, 2008.

Games Segmentation 2008 differs from Gamer Segmentation II (May 2007) primarily in the revised sampling methodology and the revised and updated Segment definitions. Gamer Segmentation II used a sample of individuals age 6-44. Games Segmentation 2008 uses a sample of individuals 2-99. By including all gamers, NPD will be able to continue to use and trend these segments for future waves.


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