Online Gaming Continues To Grow

    March 10, 2009

Online gaming for video game consoles and portables saw a significant increase from 19 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2009, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

PC online gaming experienced a small decline over the same time period, but it was still the most widely used platform for online gaming.

At 50 percent, Xbox 360 held onto its position as the console online gaming leader, even with changes among other major console systems. For example, use of Nintendo’s Wii increased from 118 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2009, while PS2 fell and PS3 moved up from fifth place to third place. This indicates the strength of Xbox 360, both overall, and specifically in the online gaming arena.

Anita Frazier, NPD Group
Anita Frazier
NPD Group

Broken down by demographics, the percent of online gamers ages 13-17 increased from 17 percent in 2008 to 22 percent in 2009, while the percent of 19-34 year olds, as well as those 35-54, decreased slightly. These shifts reveal that online gaming may have become more popular among 13 to 17 year olds compared to last year, a trend that is supported by the growth in teens using a console system for online gaming, and a relatively proportional decline among adults.

"Online gaming is enjoyed by a diverse group of players," said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.  "The sheer variety of content and ease of access makes online gaming attractive to a much larger demographic than what we typically see in retail."

The percent of online gamers purchasing at least one game for a console system has increased slightly since 2008, as has the percent purchasing for a portable system. That slightly more people report that they are purchasing more games compared to last year may be an indication that the game industry is recession resistant.