NPD: Gaming is a Stress Reliever

relax.JPGAbout 63 percent of the U.S. population play video games, and a majority of them see game playing as a way to alleviate stress and to help them unwind, according to a new study conducted by the NPD Group.

The report is based on online survey responses from 5,039 members of NPD's online consumer panel conducted from Oct. 11 to Oct. 18.

Of those who game, 30 percent said they are spending more time gaming this year than last year while another 30 percent or so said they are spending less time and nearly 40 percent say they are spending about the same amount of time. The heaviest gamers in the survey were 18 to 34.

"The new type of game experiences brought to the market over the past several years are succeeding in reaching a broader audience. The challenge for the industry is that consumers are a fickle group, and with the great variety of options pulling at their limited free time, they're going to be easily distracted unless something really compels them to stay with gaming," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "To reach these less involved consumers, the industry has to work even harder, but doing so can produce great rewards."

PLAYING VIDEO GAMES VIEWED AS FAMILY/GROUP ACTIVITY AND STRESS REDUCER New Study Busts Myths on Attitudes and Behaviors of Various Gaming Groups

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, December 12, 2007 - According to Expanding the Games Market, the most recent report from The NPD Group, while heavier gamers are much more inclined than lighter gaming groups to prefer playing games alone, both groups are equally inclined to enjoy playing games as a family, group or as a party activity, and both groups value gaming as a way to bring their families closer together. Notable also is that the majority of gamers, especially teens and older gamers ages 15 to 65 and older view playing video games as a way to alleviate stress and to help them unwind.

The report, which examines how consumer demographic groups are represented in the gaming world, also provides analysis on the attitudes and behaviours of various user groups, based on hours per week spent on gaming. It presents valuable insight into gamers and non-gamers to uncover potential areas for expanding the gaming market beyond the core, highlighting the most effective methods for reaching non-traditional gamers with demographic insight and information on genre preferences, system ownership, and use.

In terms of the number of gamers in the U.S. and the amount of time spent playing them, 63 percent of the U.S. population plays video games - defined as console and portable games, PC games, games on kid-oriented systems or games on devices like cell phones or iPods - with 30 percent claiming they are spending more time gaming this year than last year, close to 30 percent claiming they are spending less time and nearly 40 percent claiming they are spending about the same amount of time.

Gamers ages 2-65 and older were classified in this study by the number of hours spent per week on gaming. In terms of demographics and gaming behavior, the heaviest gamers are typically male, ages 18-34, who devote relatively significant amounts of time and money to gaming and focus primarily on more "hardcore" genres, as opposed to casual, lighter games.

By contrast, lighter gamers fall definitively outside the parameters described above; they are more concentrated on the lower and upper ends of the age spectrum and are defined primarily by their inclination toward lighter, casual games and their relatively high female representation.

"The new type of game experiences brought to the market over the past several years are succeeding in reaching a broader audience. The challenge for the industry is that consumers are a fickle group, and with the great variety of options pulling at their limited free time, they're going to be easily distracted unless something really compels them to stay with gaming," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "To reach these less involved consumers, the industry has to work even harder, but doing so can produce great rewards."

Methodology The report is based on online survey responses from 5,039 members of NPD's online consumer panel. Reponses for 2 to 12 year olds were captured via surrogate reporting, whereby the female parent/guardian, age 21+, was asked to bring her child in this age range to the computer to answer the questions, either with or without her assistance. The survey was fielded from October 11-18, 2007.


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