NEW YORK, Americans love to play games – on their computer, on the Web, on their smartphones, on their tablet and on their consoles. Just short of 70% of all Americans, 8 to 64, who are online in the United States play some sort of electronic game. This is the highest number of Americans gaming ever. The largest growth has occurred among the 45-64 population, growing over 30% in the last two years.
Gaming is embraced by young and old – male and female. For instance, among 12 to 24 year old males – 82% ever play games and among females of the same age it is 70%. Among older males, 45 to 64 we see 57% playing one or more types of electronic games and 61% among older females.
Smartphone and tablet gaming are fueling much of this growth. 45% percent of smartphone owners play games on their phones regularly and 69% percent of tablet owners play games on their tablet regularly. The smartphone/tablet is now the largest platform for weekly+ gamers in the U.S.
Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. says, “Americans have clearly embraced the power of the mini-computer in your pocket, the smartphone, and gaming is one of their top uses for their phones.”
As adoption of smartphone and tablet devices have exploded, so too has the market for paid games. The average smartphone gamer downloaded 3 paid games in the last year, driving the market for paid downloads up 122% year-to-year. And tablet gaming has proved to be an even more lucrative market as the average tablet gamer downloaded 5 paid games in the last year, driving paid tablet downloads up 105% year-to-year. Overall, gamers also spent $1.7 billion on virtual goods and microtransactions in smartphone/tablet games over the last 12 months.
Console gaming also remains a passion for many Americans, with consoles in 50% percent of households in the United States today. Overall, console gamers report using their consoles for non-gaming activities one-third of the time and two-thirds of the time focused on gaming. Over 23% of console gamers (up from 19% last year) believe that they will increase their spending on console games in the year ahead. This will be further fueled by the launch of new consoles from Xbox and Sony in the year ahead, and a number of new launch titles for the new consoles.
A major driver of the future success of the console gaming business is Downloadable Content (DLC). In the past 12 months 39% of console gamers have purchased DLC in addition to the console game they originally bought. Today DLC purchasers are spending on average $57 on DLC – the cost of one additional full game! This represents over $2 billion in the last 12 months – up 56% from last year. We anticipate in the year ahead that DLC spend will grow to 42% of the console gamer population and spend to increase to $2.5B – projected annual growth rate of 25%.
“Even though a few still like to brand DLC evil on the forums, the data suggests that gamers are embracing additional content more and more as a way to extend their relationship with their favorite games, said Nathan Nanzer, Vice President, Gaming, at Magid. “It’s clear gamers see value in the content, and are willing to invest over $100 into their favorite titles.”
Magid has just concluded their 2013 Magid Media Futures study including a section dedicated to gaming. The study covers a nationally representative population of 2400 respondents who are 8 to 64 years old and have access to the Internet.