The NPD Group: More Americans Play Video Games Than Go Out to the Movies

“Entertainment Trends in America” report reveals that video games account for one-third of the average monthly core entertainment spending in the U.S.

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, May 20, 2009 – According to The NPD Group, a leader in market research for the entertainment industry, nearly two out of three Americans (63 percent) have played a video game in the past six months. While that level of penetration does not begin to compete with music listening, which is nearly universal (94 percent), it exceeds the percentage of U.S. consumers who report going out to the movies (53 percent), during that same time period. Gaming is also benefiting from new outlets for playing.  Overall 10 percent of U.S. consumers played video games on a social network. Five percent have paid to download a video game from the Web, which is an increase of nearly 2 percent since last year.

According to NPD’s March 2009 update to the “Entertainment Trends In America” consumer tracking study, which provides an in-depth look at U.S. entertainment consumption, the average gamer spent just over $38 per month on all types of gaming content, based on reported spending in the three months prior to March 2009. “As with video and music, sales of physical gaming products still account for the bulk of consumer spending on video games, but digital downloads and other delivery and game-play formats are also rising in popularity,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

NPD’s report revealed that one in three gamers (31 percent) bought a console video game or portable game over the past 12 months – a seven percentage point increase in traditional game purchasers compared with the year prior. Yet traditional gamers are also finding new ways to play: Among consumers who play console or portable games, 31 percent also played a game on a gaming Web site; 12 percent played on a social networking site; 19 percent played a game that came with their mobile phones; and 11 percent purchased and downloaded a game to a mobile phone.

“Video games account for one-third of the average monthly consumer spending in the U.S. for core entertainment content, including music, video, games,” said Anita Frazier, video games industry analyst for NPD. “While a portion of that share stems from the premium price of console games, we’re also seeing an overall increase in the number of people participating in gaming year-over-year.”

Data note: Information in this press release was derived from The NPD Group’s “Entertainment Trends In America” consumer tracking study. The study is conducted online and is based on more than 11,000 completed responses from U.S. consumers.  “Core entertainment spending” is defined as expenditures on gaming, music, home video, movies, and show/concert tickets excluding any subscription spending (e.g., cable TV, subscription movie rentals).  Final survey data was weighted to represent U.S. population of individuals age 13 and older. All data was tested for statistical significance at 95 percent confidence level.

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