Kids Move Away From Home Computers For Gaming In Droves

PORT WASHINGTON, NY, September 23, 2015 – According to Kids and Gaming 2015, the latest report from global information company, The NPD Group, mobile devices are now the devices most used for gaming among kids ages 2-17 (63 percent).

This shift has occurred as now only 45 percent of kids ages 2-17 are gaming on a home computer, down 22 percentage points since 2013.  This decline is seen among all of the kids’ age groups, but is most pronounced among those ages 2-5.  

Consoles saw a decrease in gaming as well, though not nearly to the magnitude experienced on the computer. Despite a continuing decline in gameplay on portable platforms, the device remains popular among the 9-11 age group (41 percent).

“The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids’ move away from the computer,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position.  This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers.”

Interestingly, while the declines in computers and consoles made mobile devices the number one type of device for gaming among children this year, the incidence of mobile gaming remained steady compared to 2013.  What did change, however, was kids’ engagement and time spent on these devices.

When asked about time spent on their gaming devices now compared to a year ago, many similar patterns emerge. Mobile devices continue to gain ground with 41 percent saying that they are spending more time on these devices than a year ago, and the average time spent per week climbing to 6 hours.

Meanwhile, even though time spent on consoles is flat, with equal portions of players playing more and less, gaming on eighth generation consoles is on the rise. Among the seventh generation consoles, players are much more likely to state that their play time has diminished compared to a year ago.

“While overall gaming incidence rates have remained high, shifts in consumer behavior – things like growth in time spent gaming – are surprising changes,” said Callahan. “This type of insight is invaluable to anyone engaged in marketing video games to kids.”

Average Dollar Amount Spent in the Past Three Months

Physical games continue to command the highest average spend, with average spending holding steady at $27. The amount of money spent on digital games was $13, rising by an average of $5.  Regardless of age and gender, spending on physical games is twice that of digital game spending.

Across all areas of spending, boys are most likely to be spending the most, $54 on average compared to $36 for girl gamers.  Interestingly, while girls are more likely to game on their mobile device, average spending on gaming apps is the same for boys and girls.

Two out of every 10 gamers indicated they are spending more on games and microtransactions than they were a year ago; the dollar spend on physical console games is roughly three times more than any other device, while the proportion of spend for digital games and microtransactions remains relatively unchanged.


An online survey was conducted among children ages 2-17. Respondents were targeted via a parental surrogate, with the parent asked to have the child sit with them and take the survey. For the youngest children, the parent was asked to take the survey on their behalf. Final data were weighted back to demographics for children ages 2-17. Qualified children indicated that they currently play video games on at least one device measured in the survey.

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David Riley

The NPD Group, Inc.
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Port Washington, NY 11050

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