ECA’s Hal Halpin on the ‘Decline’ of the Gaming Population

Yesterday NPD released a report that said that, in the last year, the number of gamers had declined by about five percent. The research firm's report ("Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers") found that 211.5 million people in the U.S. played games, about 12 million fewer than were counted in 2011.

While many accepted the numbers, not everyone agrees with them.

"If you look at the data holistically — across all platforms and devices — I think it hard to believe that the number of people gaming is doing anything but dramatically increasing," Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association, told NBC.

The NPD report divides players into six categories: core gamers, mobile gamers, digital gamers, light PC gamers, avid PC gamers and family & kid gamers. Of those categories, only two remained steady and didn't suffer declines: mobile gamers and digital gamers saw increases of nine percent and four percent, respectively. Mobile gamers made up 22 percent of the gamer population, while digital gamers made up 16 percent.

He went on to say that, while he respects the research NPD does for the industry, he wonders if their methodology might be flawed.

"While I have a lot of respect for the NPD Group and the research that they do, their methodology can be flawed when looking at gamers and gaming in its totality," he said. "Years ago, I was fairly regularly asked by the media, 'Who is a Gamer?' and I think that question has been answered by the obvious: it's now easier to ask, who isn't?"

He has a lot more to say about the topic in this great article on NBC.

[Full disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]


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