Panic: Total Number of Videogamers in the U.S. Drops

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The medium of video games is still very young, and, by its very nature, wildly growing in leaps and bounds as new advances in computer processing and image capturing technology are made and applied to telling stories. While, like comics, they may still be something of a niche pastime to the mainstream, they’re still being played by two-thirds of America. And I would have guess that that number is growing…

If not for a new report from market researchers the NPD Group.

The NPD’s findings show that the number of people who play video games in the U.S. has actually shunk by 12 million last year, 5% of the total gamer population. For some additional perspective, that’s just a couple million more than the entire current player population of World of Warcraft. But while the overall number of people playing games in 2011, that perennial thorn in the side of “teh hardcorez” gamers, mobile gaming, grew like gangbusters.

The number of mobile and digital gamers grew over 2011, while 2011’s largest gamer category, core gamers, who focus on playing traditional console game systems, declined by 2%.

Overall, mobile gamers grew to make up 22% of the gaming population, an increase of 9%. Digital gamers, who primarily acquire games through free and paid downloads, rose 4% to account for 16% of all gamers.

There were also declines in the NPD defined categories of Family+Kid Gamers, Light PC Gamers, and Avid PC Gamers. In some ways it’s not such a huge surprise. The current generation of consoles has been around for an unusually long time with out a fresh machine to galvanize their playerbases, dozens of MMOs have embraced Free-to-Play as a method of keeping solvent, and even a titan like World of Warcraft has had trouble keeping players around in the run up to its new expansion.

Don’t worry gamers: in fifty to sixty years, we’ll all be logging on to MMOs from our nursing homes and playing holodeck bowling or whatever. I’ll see you(r avatars) there.

(via USA Today.)


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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.