Don’t lie to me – you’re playing games on that computer!

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New York based NPD Group, a provider of consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries reported April 2nd that overall American participation in gaming rose in 2007 to 72 percent of the population from 64 percent last year.  Of these, more than half say they play games online.

In its “Online Gaming 2008,” which analyzes the online gaming landscape and focuses specifically on consumer behavior, time and money spent in this market, the PC platform continues to be the driving force in online gaming, with 90 percent of online gamers stating they use a PC to play games online, 19 percent claiming they use a video game system (console or portable) and 3 percent claiming they use a cell phone. 

Four out of 10 online gamers are ages 2-17, driven heavily by kids ages 6-12.  Kids ages 2 to 12 are driving more than 25 percent of online gaming, while 18-24 year olds only represent 10 percent of online gaming.

2 years old??!! I was still learning to use the potty at age 2 and today kids are playing games online???????

At this point in the lifecycle of today’s video game consoles, multiple console ownership is low, with only 3 percent reporting that they own two of the three “next-gen” systems and only 2 percent claiming to own all three systems.

Among those who use a video game system for online gaming, Xbox 360 is the top system used, with 50 percent stating they play games online via that system.  On average, Xbox 360 owners spend the most time per week using their 360s to play games online, followed by PC and PS3 owners using these respective systems for online game play.

According to the report, 13 percent of online gamers spend 20 hours or more per week on online gaming.  Per platform, 33 percent of portable online gamers, 29 percent of console online gamers and 13 percent of PC online gamers are in this heaviest online gaming group.

“Despite the buzz in the industry regarding online gaming, it is still relatively small compared to offline gaming,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.  “There is still a large, untapped market for gaming in general and online gaming in particular.”

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