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34M hardcore gamers play an average of 22 hours a week — but Nintendo isn’t ‘core’ enough to count

Above: Randy Marsh from South Park would qualify as a core gamer.

Image Credit: BananaScoop

It seems that all you ever hear about is the emerging casual market of gaming. Sure, those Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft players are a nice, new source of revenue for a lot of companies, but don’t forget about traditional gamers. We still like to play.

A lot.

According to the NPD Group, 34 million core gamers spend an average of 22 hours a week playing video games. The NPD Group defines a core gamer as anyone who plays at least five hours a week on a Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, or Mac. I’m not sure why the NPD Group doesn’t think Nintendo consoles or portables like the Vita and 3DS count as hardcore, but, hey, it’s not my report.

According to the NPD Group, you can’t just play five hours of Peggle 2 every week to qualify as a core gamer. It’s only counting those who play the action, adventure, fighting, flight, massively multiplayer, racing, real-time strategy, role-playing, shooter, and sport genres.

“Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice,” said Liam Callahan, an industry analyst in a press release sent by the NPD Group to GamesBeat.  “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.”

The NPD Group also noted that two-thirds of core gamers play software on their mobile devices. Seventy-four percent also claimed that they would choose physical media over digital if the price was the same, although that number is down 5 points from last year. Digital media is on the rise.

Still, the biggest takeaway here is that core gamers are still demanding and willing to pay for content that suits their gaming needs. So the next time someone tells you traditional gaming is dying thanks to the casual market, you can slap them in the face before getting back to your 22 hours of weekly gaming bliss.


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