Editorial: The Gamer Population

Hello LusiSlaves! On this weeks podcast, I reported on the “gamer population” and how it had decreased over the past year or so. After the podcast I wanted to analyze the numbers a bit more than I was allowed to on the podcast. To go into why I have an interest in this sort of thing is that as I hopeful director I really have to know what demographics my projects will connect to. I can not make a film about two gay men on a mountain and expect people to see it…. oh, wait.

Bobby Kotick Money Sledding
Bobby Kotick Money Sledding

Well, anyway, according to the Forbes article we used for the podcast, “NPD reports that mobile gamers and digital gamers grew in the period. But all other segments, defined by NPD as Core Gamers, Family and Kid Gamers, Light PC Gamers and Avid PC Games, shrank. The biggest drop came in the Family and Kid category.The research firm says there are now more Mobile Gamers than Core Gamers, the largest segment last year. NPD estimates that gamers on average spent $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games in the past three months.” Let us break this quote down and deal with the rise of mobile and digital gamers first.

As we all know, the iPhone and Android have completely changed the portable gaming market. The difference between mobile gaming and portable gaming it seems is the face that apps from iOS and Android OS are readily available to the consumer straight from each ones respective “market place”, unlike the majority of Nintendo and Sony’s handhelds. This is more appealing to a mass consumer base who do not have to leave their house so they can get their gaming fix. These games are also aimed at a demographic of people that will play the game once or twice and then never play it again. Additionally, the digital market places give consumers assurance that the product they want is available to them 24/7, unlike having to go to the game shop hoping that the game you want is there. At the end of the day the mobile and digital gamers have the best chance of getting the product they want for as cheap as possible, unless you are buying a Square Enix mobile game.

DS Prints Money
DS Prints Money

“But all other segments, defined by NPD as Core Gamers, Family and Kid Gamers, Light PC Gamers and Avid PC Games, shrank. The biggest drop came in the Family and Kid category.” The main focus of this statement for me is the Family and Kid category. In my opinion, what we are seeing is the drop of the mom Wii and the kids who are no longer interested in playing games to one day be a part of the Hardcore group. In all honesty, this drop comes from the fad of the Wii being done and the announcement of the WiiU. I think that these “Family and Kid” demographics are done with the Wii and will not be picking up the WiiU since, allegedly, Nintendo is trying to bring back the “Hardcore” gamers. In all honesty, I think that Nintendo has lost the “Hardcore” and will have to depend on the crazy Nintendo fans to keep them afloat.

Finally, the last part of the quote which deals with the price gamers are paying for games. I think it is really clear that the cost of digital games is on the raise. Earlier, I made a wise crack about Sqaure Enix’s price of mobile games, which ranges from seventeen to thirty dollars, and how they just seems to get away with crappy games and crappy ports. But the numbers seem to suggest that people are continuing to buy their overpriced RPG ports and their flavor of the month apps.

How does this overall affect the game industry and will we see another crash? Not very much and probably not. This is just a flux of people leaving and we will get another flux of people to replace the ones who left. It does seem that there is a shift in what gamers are more likely to but and that the future of games is in digitally downloaded media. Of course there are problems with digital distribution services and DRM but at the end of the day these companies are going to move toward where the money is. Like Lusipurr, and many other staff members, have said that if you do not want this to happen then do not buy games from places like Origin or Steam. At the end of the day it all comes down to money and the demographics these companies are sell their products to.

2 comments

  1. What this all says to me is that the casual game market is finally starting to shrink. Gamers have been calling it for years, and it looks like it’s finally started to happen.

Comments are closed.