Although people have a multitude of platforms upon which to play computer games (tablet, smartphone, consoles), the humble PC (or Mac) still has some draw for players.
According to the NPD Group, 37% of the U.S. population age 9 or older play PC games for an average of 6.4 hours a week. PC game players fit into three categories: Heavy Core gamers, who play core games — those classified as Action/Adventure, Fighting, Flight, Massively Multi-Player (MMO), Racing, Real Time Strategy, Role-Playing, Shooter, or Sport — for five or more hours a week; Light Core, who play such games for less than five hours a week, and Casual gamers, who only play games outside of those categories.
PC gamers as a whole split almost evenly down gender lines, although Heavy and Light Core gamers were much more likely to be men, while casual gamers were overwhelmingly female.
Not surprisingly then, Casual gamers make up the largest segment of PC game players, making up 56% of the market, and Light Core gamers accounted for 24%. Although Heavy Core gamers were the smallest segment (20%), they spent significantly more time and about twice as much money on physical or digital games than the Casual gamers.
Still, nearly half of all PC gamers (46%) had visited a Web site to make a game purchase via digital download. Digital game purchasers were also less likely to look for a discount before purchasing a title. Half of all gamers, in fact, are accustomed to waiting for a sale before buying a digital game.
“Consumers’ expectations may be the greatest barrier to maximizing spending in the PC gaming space,” said Liam Callahan, industry analyst at The NPD Group, in a statement. “Since half of PC gamers who play digital and/or physical games on the computer are expecting there to always be a sale right around the corner, publishers and retailers alike need to better manage these expectations.”