Smartphone games

The number of people playing games primarily on mobile devices has increased since last year, overtaking the number of people playing mainly on console systems, according to a new report from market tracking firm The NPD Group.

In a press release summarizing the report, “Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers,” NPD said that of the 211.5 million gamers in the US this year, 22 percent were “Mobile Gamers.” NPD defined this segment as people spending “almost half” of gaming time on cell phones and other devices. The segment gained nine percentage points over 2011.

“Core Gamers” – those playing mostly on consoles, spending about 15 hours per week gaming, and spending the most money for physical game media and additional in-game content – dropped two percentage points to 21 percent.

The count of 211.5 million gamers itself was a drop of about 12 percent since 2011, the report said. Out of six identified gamer segments, only Mobile Gamers and one called “Digital Gamers” increased. Digital Gamers are characterized by using a variety of hardware to access downloadable and online games. They increased four percentage points to 16 percent of the total.

Other segments included:

  • Family & Kid Gamers, 15 percent: Acquired most games as gifts and were most likely to use consoles targeted specifically at children.
  • Avid PC Gamers, 13 percent: Played both casual and non-casual games mainly on a computer. Purchased some physical and digital games as well as additional content.
  • Casual PC Gamers, 13 percent: Played mostly casual games with very few purchases.

"Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it's not surprising to see a slight decline in the Core Gamer segment," said Anita Frazier, an industry analyst with NPD, in the press release. The firm is planning to release an in-depth study of mobile gamers later this month.

Tags: avid pc gamers, casual pc gamers, console gamers, core gamers, digital gamers, family & kid gamers, mobile gamers, smartphone gamers