Adults may make up the majority of game players, but video games are more popular than ever among kids, new research shows. According to NPD, 91 percent of U.S. children ages 2-17 play video games (64 million). More interesting, these numbers are up nearly 13 percent from a 2009 study. The number of kids in the U.S. has increased by 1.54 percent in that time, but not nearly enough to make up for the massive increase in game playing. Gaming among kids ages 2-5 has increased the most.
“Year-to-date through August 2011, kids comprised 44 percent of new physical software dollar sales, representing a vitally important consumer segment for the games industry,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Knowing how kids are spending their gaming time and dollars in both traditional and non-traditional outlets is key to staying relevant to this highly engaged audience.”
All sectors seem to be growing, but computer, smartphone, and tablet devices have seen the largest growth. Games played on mobile devices alone have risen from 8 percent to 38 percent. Android and iOS devices account for most of the growth. Games played on handheld systems like the Nintendo 3DS are up from 38 percent to 45 percent since 2009.
These numbers prove that kids are finding it easy and enjoyable to play games on smartphone and tablet devices. Nintendo has had some trouble adapting to the smartphone era. In August, the company slashed the price of its handheld 3DS system from $250 to $170 to better compete with Android and iOS. It will be interesting to see how the handheld fares through the holidays. Will kids and parents continue to pay for premium devices and games as common gadgets get more capable at playing big budget titles?