According to the NPD Group’s Core Gaming 2014 report, the majority of core gamers prefer physical media to digital downloads assuming there is no difference in price. However, before getting into the statistics, it is important to note what the report defined as a “core gamer”. The NPD Group considered anyone who plays games for at least five hours per week on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, or Mac to be a core gamer. Under this definition, the report estimated 34 million core gamers in the US.
NPD Group found that 74 percent of respondents said they would opt for a physical disc over a download. While this makes it clear physical media still has a strong presence in the industry, it also indicates a growth in the preference for digital media. The 26 percent of respondents that preferred digital downloads was up 5 percentage points from last year. The report also found that the average player spends 22 hours a week on games, a number that NPD analyst Liam Callahan expects to increase.
“Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice,” said Callahan. “With the new console generation off to a great start, we can expect the amount of time spent gaming to increase as more core gamers adopt them.”
Some other tidbits from the report include that around two-thirds of respondents said they also play games on smartphones and other mobile devices, and around 70 percent of core gamers play multiplayer games regularly or occasionally.