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NPD sees US gamers going digital

Consumers in the United States are growing increasingly comfortable with digital games

According to the NPD Group's latest report, Online Gaming 2012, 67 percent of respondents in the United States reported acquiring one game in physical or digital format in the three-month period ended on March 31, 2012. The number rose to 75 percent for online gamers, and 40 percent of respondents reported acquiring one game in both physical and digital formats.

"Gamers are growing more comfortable in acquiring content online, as we saw the preference for digital increase ten percentage points from last year," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "The proliferation of free games on mobile devices has reduced the barrier of entry for online gaming to zero, fueling an increase in acquisition."

The total group of respondents acquired eight games on average. Those who purchased digital exclusively acquired an average of six titles, while those who purchased physical games only got an average of three titles. Consumers who purchased physical and digital games reported getting 15 games on average.

There has been a slight increase in consumers who say other forms of entertainment have led them to spend less time and money on gaming. More than one-in-five online players said their systems were used by other household members for other entertainment, up 3 percent from 2011's survey.

"Every year at E3, we hear about new non-gaming features being added to major console and portable device manufacturers' online services," said Callahan. "It is reasonable to expect changes in the share of time and spend as consumers become aware and increasingly comfortable with the number of features, including gaming, available through their multifunctional devices."

The NPD Group collected this data via an online survey of 8,488 people, ages 2 and older.

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Mike Williams avatar
Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.