A new report by retail research firm NPD Group finds that the way children are playing games has taken a dramatic shift since 2011. The report, "Kids and Gaming 2013," finds that children ages 2-17 are playing games on mobile devices nearly as much as they are on home console systems.
More than half (53 percent) of mobile device users reported that they spent more time playing on these devices this year compared to last year, but the real increase is with children who spent an average of seven hours per week on mobile devices compared to five hours per week in 2011.
PCs, laptops, and consoles remained the top devices for gaming, but "almost" as many children are playing games on mobile devices as they are on consoles and computers, according to the study. The report also noted that children are starting to play games on mobile devices at a younger age than in prior years; the starting age was 8-years-old in 2012 vs. 9-years-old in 2011. NPD expects that the starting age for gaming will continue to trend lower and lower.
"The question becomes whether this mobile usage will continue to grow for 2 to 17 year olds, and if usage will become more prevalent than gaming on consoles and computers as time progresses," Callahan said. "More importantly, we need to understand how these forms of gaming provide different types of experiences for young gamers."
The Kids and Gaming 2013 report is based on the results of an online survey that ran from June 26 – July 18 of this year and uses data from 3,842 children ages 2-17 who currently play games on various devices.