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Three out of four US gamers prefer physical games - NPD

Core gamer demand for digital distribution still rising, up 5 percent year-over-year

Digital distribution is becoming an increasingly accepted way of buying games, but the clear majority of gamers still prefer to get something tangible for their money. According to the NPD Group's Core Gaming 2014 report, 74 percent of core gamers in the US would choose a physical copy of a game over digital, assuming both were the same price.

Despite the preference for physical formats, acceptance of digital games is growing. The 26 percent of gamers who said they preferred digital copies of games is up 5 percent year-over-year.

The report comes from a survey of more than 7,900 core gamers ages 9 and up conducted in March. The research firm defined "core gamer" as anyone who plays five hours or more on Microsoft or Sony consoles, PC, or Mac, and plays in certain genres (action, adventure, fighting, flight, MMOs, racing, real-time strategy, RPGs, shooters, or sports games) on those platforms.

The NPD Group put the total US core gamer audience at 34 million people, with the average player spending 22 hours a week on games. Two-thirds of them also played games on mobile devices, and 70 percent played multiplayer games at least occasionally.

"Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice," said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. "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."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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