A new survey from Parks Associates finds that video game developers and publishers may be ignoring major portions of the U.S. gamer market by focussing on two gaming audiences—casual gamers and so-called hardcore gamers. Instead, the survey finds the U.S. gamer market consists of some six segments, each with different gaming behaviors, motivations, and (ch-ching!) spending patterns.
The survey of 2,000 U.S. online gamers found gamers broke down into the following categories:
- Power gamers, accounting for 11 percent of the market but almost a third of retail and online game spending;
- Social gamers who account for 13 percent of the market and play games as a way of interacting with friends;
- Leisure gamers carry some 14 percent of the market, and spend nearly 60 hours a month playing—they spend time mainly on casual titles, but prefer challenging games and are interested in new gaming services;
- Dormant gamers who account for a whopping 26 percent of the market and who don’t play much because of family, work, or school, but like to play challenging games, and play with friends and family;
- Incidental gamers account for 12 percent of the market and play games mainly out of boredom—but they’re bored more than 20 hours a month;
- and Occasional gamers, who play mainly word, board, and puzzle games annd account for a massive 24 percent of the market.
A surprising result from the survey is the importance of social gaming; video games are often considered a solitary activity, but Parks Associates’ findings indicate a significant portion of the market views gaming as a social activity. "Social and leisure gamers may play simple, non-competitive games, but they want to play these games with friends and players they meet online," said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Parks Associates; Director of Broadband and Gaming. "For this type of gamer, there simply aren’t that many options."