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Core Gamers Still Favor Physical Media

Physical media may win out for some, but mobile games are growing faster than all other formats

April 3, 2013 | Media & Entertainment

Although there has been a fast rise in the number of platforms available to gamers—from online to social to mobile games—there is still a group of gamers who remain loyal to playing physical media on traditional consoles, PCs and laptops.

Consumer market research firm The NPD Group conducted a poll in March 2013 using the term “core gamers” to describe those consumers who used older gaming platforms to play for at least five hours per week. All told, the study found that about 14% of the total US audience was a core gamer.

Despite the fact that newer video game consoles are often internet-enabled and allow for the downloading of media, almost eight in 10 core gamers indicated that they were much more likely to purchase a physical media game over a digital game.

US Core Gamers* Who Purchase Physical or Digital Games, Jan 2013 (% of respondents)

While 29% of core gamers, a decent chunk, indicated a willingness to buy a next-generation console soon after its release, 42% said they would probably or definitely not purchase a new console when it was made available.

Likelihood that US Core Gamers* Will Purchase a Next Generation Console at the Time of Release, Jan 2013 (% of respondents)

This data might reflect a willingness among core gamers to wait for a drop in price, or their devotion to the consoles they already have. It may also reflect the growing popularity of mobile gaming, the fastest-growing gaming category.

Even as core gamers favor physical media, there is no question that the rising mobile gaming audience includes plenty of core gamers. eMarketer estimates that in the US, the number of mobile gamers will total 121.3 million this year, and then increase to 141.2 million in 2014.


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