Extreme Gamers spend an average of 45 hours a week playing video games and have purchased 24 titles in the past three months, according to Games Segmentation 2008, the most recent report from leading market research company, The NPD Group.
The report provides detailed analysis of seven gamer segments, which are defined by ownership, usage, and frequency. It identifies the video game platforms and genres, as well as retailers that appeal to various gamer segments, helping the industry to better understand video game sales, ownership, and usage patterns within these segments.
Of the 174 million gamers who personally play games on PC/Mac or video game systems, 3 percent are Extreme Gamers, 9 percent are Avid PC Gamers, 17 percent are Console Gamers, 14 percent Online PC Gamers, 15 percent are Offline PC Gamers, 22 percent are Young Heavy Gamers and 20 percent are Secondary Gamers.
With over 38 million gamers, Young Heavy Gamers is the largest and one of the heaviest gaming groups in the U.S. The Extreme and Young Heavy Gamers over-index on every video game system with the Extreme Gamer showing a strong preference for PS3 and 360 and the Young Heavy showing a strong preference for portables.
Given their size and heavy gaming characteristics, Young Heavy Gamers typically make up at least one-third of any system's owners and tend to gravitate towards portable platforms. For Nintendo DS (NDS) and PlayStation Portable (PSP), six out of every 10 owners are Young Heavy Gamers. Console Gamers is the second largest segment of the owner base of any system, with the exception of the NDS and PSP.
According to the report, while the PC is used more than any single console for gaming, Console Gamers, Young Heavy Gamers, and Extreme Gamers are more likely to use consoles than a PC to play video games.
Among next-generation console owners, PlayStation 3 owners are most likely to own other next-generation consoles compared to Wii and Xbox 360 owners. While 45 percent of PlayStation Portable owners also own a Nintendo DS, only 21 percent of Nintendo DS owners also own a PlayStation Portable. Only 10% of PlayStation 2 owners also own the PlayStation 3.
Both Console Gamers and Extreme Gamers dominate when it comes to the number of hours spent playing video games per week, with an average of 8.2 hours per week and 22.3 hours per week, respectively.
When it comes to purchasing power, Extreme Gamers lead all segments, buying nearly 24 titles across all their systems in the past three months. This is over seven times more than the second leading purchasing segment, Console Gamers, who on average purchased only 3.2 games in the past three months.
In total, gaming consumers indicated approximately 14 percent of games purchased in the past 3 months were digital downloads. Avid PC Gamers had the highest incidence with 27 percent of their purchases being digital. In terms of content, more than half of Extreme Gamers and just over a third of Avid PC Gamers stated they would definitely download a feature to enhance a specific game that they own.
Note: This study was conducted in January, meaning that questions that refer to consumer behavior in the past three months include the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays.