A new report on "core gamers" from the NPD group notes that 34 million people in the United States spend an average of 22 hours a week playing games. The data, which is based on a national online survey, also found that the majority of core gamers in the United States prefer to buy their games on physical discs rather than digitally. When the price is the same for digital and physical media, 74 percent of respondents said they would buy a physical disc over a download. Digital purchasing is up 5 percent compared to last year, NPD said.
NPD considers anyone who plays more than five hours a week on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, or Mac a "core gamer." NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said he expects the average time spent playing games will increase thanks to the launch of new systems from Sony and Microsoft.
"Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice," Callahan said. "With the new console generation off to a great start, we can expect the amount of time spent gaming to increase as more core gamers adopt them."
Around two-thirds (22.6 million) of the 34 million core gamers in the US also play games on smartphones and other mobile devices. Core gamers are also into multiplayer games, with around 70 percent of core gamers saying that they play multiplayer titles "regularly" or "occasionally."
"Core gamers are an important part of the games industry and understanding their behavior is critical to anyone invested in the games space–especially considering the launch of the new consoles and the continued evolution of digital gaming," Callahan said.
The data comes from a survey of 7,927 people in the US, ages 9+ nine who play non-casual games at least five hours a week on a PC or consoles.