Online Gaming Sees Major Growth – Especially on the Wii

Online Gaming Sees Major Growth - Especially on the Wii

Market research firm NPD took an online survey of over 20,000 of its consumer panel during January 2009, and found that the number of gamers taking their play online jumped significantly from 2008 to 2009, from 19 percent of gamers playing online games in 2008 to 25 percent in 2009. And while the PC remains the dominant online gaming platform, it actually experienced a slight year-to-year decline. Among consoles, the Xbox 360 dominated online play with 50 percent ofits users taking their systems online; however, online usage of the Nintendo Wii game console jumped from 18 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2009. Overall, that means the Wii outdid the PlayStation 3 for online play; of course, the Wii has sold a much larger number of consoles.

The report also found that younger gamers are gravitating toward online play with 22 percent of gamers from ages 13 to 17 playing online games in 2009, compared to 17 percent in 2008. Percentages among 18 to 34 year-olds and 35-to-54 year-olds decreased slightly year-on-year. Teens are also more likely to use a console system for online gaming.

“Online gaming is enjoyed by a diverse group of players,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier, in a statement. “The sheer variety of content and ease of access makes online gaming attractive to a much larger demographic than what we typically see in retail.”

NPD also found that Xbox 360 and PS3 owners are downloading more content than users of other systems, although overall levels of downloaded slowed compared to 2008.