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Online Gaming is Still Very PC

A study shows large percentage of online gamers choose their PC/Mac for online play, while 10% are strictly mobile-based gamers. The NPD Group's recently released report, "Online Gaming: The Consumer Perspective for PC and Video Games," finds the overwhelming majority of today's 13-to-44-year-old gamers have the ability to play games online and a good portion are taking advantage of it, mostly on the PC.

Nearly 90% of respondents who play games via a PC/Mac or videogame console use one of the three online-capable systems (PC/Mac, PlayStation 2 and Xbox). Of these gamers who use an online-capable system, 60% are playing online, with a significant percentage of both PlayStation 2 and Xbox owners using their PC/Mac to play games online instead of their respective console systems. Roughly 10% of those who said they play online are strictly mobile-based gamers and do not use any of the three online-capable systems.

"The seeds of online gaming were planted when the Internet was made available for commercial use in the early 1990s, so it's not surprising to see that PC games have the home-court advantage when it comes to online gaming," said Richard Ow, senior industry analyst, The NPD Group. "On the other hand, the mobile-based gaming market a market still very much in its infancy showing a 10% user base (among general gamers who also play online) is what really stands out. And with most mobile platforms being online-ready, they're close to competing with the console systems for the attention of online gamers."

The study also reports that close to 60% of online gamers' time spent playing games on a PC is for online gaming, while roughly 40% is offline gaming. The opposite is true for both PlayStation 2 and Xbox, where approximately 40% of time spent playing games are online and 60& is offline.

Today's 13-to-44-year-old online gaming market is skewed slightly more male: 53% versus 47% female. PC/Mac-based online gamers drive this ratio, while PlayStation 2 and Xbox skew heavily male, with approximately 88% being male and 12% being female.

Overall, the average amount of time spent playing games online among the three platforms is 6.1 hours per week. The average time spent playing offline games among any of the three platforms is five hours per week, which is roughly one hour less than the average for online gaming.

A survey invitation was e-mailed to a representative sample of 15,700 males and females ages 18 to 44, with an over-sampling of males ages 18 to 30, given their high propensity to play videogames. An additional 3,300 teens (ages 13 to 17), with an over-sampling of males, were also e-mailed the survey invitation. The survey was fielded on June 3, 2004 and closed on June 21, 2004 with a total of 7,430 responses, yielding a 39% response rate. The survey data is weighted to represent the population of individuals ages 13 to 44 in the US.

Since 1967 The NPD Group has provided reliable and comprehensive sales and marketing information for a wide range of industries such as apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, food and beverage, foodservice, footwear, home improvement, housewares, information technology, music, toys and videogames. For more information visit www.npd.com.

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