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NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop

USA Today summarizes a new report from the industry analysts at NPD Group that states the number of game players in the U.S. have declined by about 5% over last year, a counterintuitive result that may inspire questions about their undisclosed methodology. Here's word:

About two-thirds of Americans, 211.5 million, play video games in the U.S. That's about 12 million fewer, a 5% decline, than last year, NPD Says.

The number of mobile and digital gamers grew over 2011, while 2011's largest gamer category, core gamers, who focus on playing traditional console game systems, declined by 2%.

Overall, mobile gamers grew to make up 22% of the gaming population, an increase of 9%. Digital gamers, who primarily acquire games through free and paid downloads, rose 4% to account for 16% of all gamers.

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18. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 18:22 TheEmissary
 
Dev wrote on Sep 6, 2012, 07:37:
TheEmissary wrote on Sep 6, 2012, 01:10:
The way people purchase and play games has changed so much in the last 5 years in ways that aren't easily tracked.
Just to reiterate, its not that they can't be easily tracked. Digital is more easily tracked than ever, you can get up to the minute reporting on exactly how many copies and what price they went for.

But its that the data all belongs to the game companies and they choose not to release it.

I probably should have phrased that a bit different but I meant tracked by public or tracked in a aggregated way. Individually Of course the digital distribution platforms will have this information for their own software ecosystem. As the industry as a whole there are simply too many different sources for games and hidden numbers to really even attempt to claim anything.
 
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17. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 09:19 Parallax Abstraction
 
NPD has been an irrelevant joke for years and with rising digital distribution, they continue to be. If the next consoles allow people to digitally buy every title, there won't be a shred of useful data coming out of that organisation anymore.  
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16. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 07:37 Dev
 
TheEmissary wrote on Sep 6, 2012, 01:10:
The way people purchase and play games has changed so much in the last 5 years in ways that aren't easily tracked.
Just to reiterate, its not that they can't be easily tracked. Digital is more easily tracked than ever, you can get up to the minute reporting on exactly how many copies and what price they went for.

But its that the data all belongs to the game companies and they choose not to release it.
 
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15. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 07:28 InBlack
 
The Half Elf wrote on Sep 5, 2012, 23:01:
Ok 2 things.
When it comes to 'core' gamers I do honestly believe the consoles beat out the PC, especially with FPS'ers.

2nd, Prez's Steam catalog alone counts for 20 people on the NPD!

Its all opinion anyway, what exactly is a gamer. How do you classify them? Is anyone who owns a console a gamer? How many games do you need to own to be considered a gamer? 1? 2? 10?

Its all bullshit conjecture and number pulling. The NPD is a beurocratic black hole that serves no rational functional purpose and should be shut down immediately if not sooner.
 
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14. I am part of that drop! :P Sep 6, 2012, 05:37 Ant
 
I don't play video games pretty much these days. Not even Flash games.  
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13. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 01:47 CJ_Parker
 
Business as usual towards the end of a console cycle and an excellent indicator for Sony and MS that the right time for new products is quickly approaching. People are ready to move on. The player numbers will rise again once the next gen is here.

 
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12. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 01:45 jdreyer
 
The Half Elf wrote on Sep 5, 2012, 23:01:
Ok 2 things.
When it comes to 'core' gamers I do honestly believe the consoles beat out the PC, especially with FPS'ers.

I think that's only true in the USA, and maybe Japan. The rest of the world plays games on PC.
 
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11. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 01:40 OldTimber
 
Pirates are the cause!!!
Oh wait didn't see that mentioned guess they forgot to add that into their usually release.
 
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10. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 01:29 Bhruic
 
Prez wrote on Sep 5, 2012, 22:32:
Even someone who lost their job and had to stop buying a $60 game every month can still play Angry Birds or PvZ.

Assuming the happen to have a smart phone, sure. While they are numerous, they are universal. There are plenty of people who don't have one. And people who've lost their jobs quite possibly can't pay for one.
 
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9. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 6, 2012, 01:10 TheEmissary
 
NPD hasn't been relevant for years. The way people purchase and play games has changed so much in the last 5 years in ways that aren't easily tracked. NPD really only focuses on US retail sales.

Most digital distribution platforms do not reveal their internal sales numbers so anything NPD comes up with is a guess. For them to make a claim like that with incomplete data is foolish at best. For all we know the Video game Player totals might have actually grown but they were unable to track it.
 
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8. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 23:13 Prez
 
The Half Elf wrote on Sep 5, 2012, 23:01:

2nd, Prez's Steam catalog alone counts for 20 people on the NPD!

That made me smile. After the day I had it felt nice too.
 
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7. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 23:01 The Half Elf
 
Ok 2 things.
When it comes to 'core' gamers I do honestly believe the consoles beat out the PC, especially with FPS'ers.

2nd, Prez's Steam catalog alone counts for 20 people on the NPD!
 
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6. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 22:32 Prez
 
Not surprising. NPD data for digital distribution is incomplete at best, and as more people come to embrace digital downloads the number will continue to drop. Also, gaming is a luxury that many people suffering the effects of a bad economy will cut back on. 2 big reasons that a decline makes sense in my mind.

While the given data suggests that these people are giving up gaming on PC and console in favor of mobile gaming, I don't think that's the case. Mobile gaming is so cheap and easy (all of my mobile games have cost a grand total of 0 dollars) that I don't think it paints a true picture. Even someone who lost their job and had to stop buying a $60 game every month can still play Angry Birds or PvZ.
 
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5. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 22:27 Bhruic
 
while 2011's largest gamer category, core gamers, who focus on playing traditional console game systems

*sigh*

Sometimes you just read something that makes you want to smack whoever wrote it upside the head. The above quote just managed it.
 
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4. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 22:24 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Yep, you're right. NPD doesn't include Steam or similar services and as more of them grow NPD will continue to show a similar decline.  
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3. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 21:29 jdreyer
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Sep 5, 2012, 20:33:
I highly doubt there was a net drop of 12 million gamers in a year.

On the other hand, they could all be Zynga players, which would explain why Zynga is sinking like a stone in a deep lake.

EDIT: I seem to remember reading somewhere that NPD doesn't include Steam or similar users in its calcs. That could explain things right there. Steam has seen massive growth over the past year, and that is probably coming at the expense of more traditional gaming channels.
 
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2. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 20:35 eRe4s3r
 
How do they even BEGIN to measure this?  
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1. Re: NPD: U.S. Video Game Player Totals Drop Sep 5, 2012, 20:33 theyarecomingforyou
 
I highly doubt there was a net drop of 12 million gamers in a year.  
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