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NPD Study: 74 Percent Of Core Gamers Prefer Game Discs

Well, we could've told you that.

A new study from the NPD Group (as cited by GameSpot) confirms that the majority of core gamers in the US prefer physical discs as opposed to digital media.

In fact, 74 percent of participants said they'd opt for the physical disc instead of a digital download.

However, it's important to note that last year, 79 percent of respondents said they'd go with physical media, so the percentage is falling. The recent report noted that there are around 34 million core gamers in the US, and each one spends an average of 22 hours per week playing games. For the record, the NPD applied the "core gamer" label to anyone who played at least 5 hours per week on consoles or PC.

NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan said core gamers are critical in the industry:

"Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice. 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."

Of those 34 million core gamers in the country, about two-thirds (22.6 million) said they also play games on smartphones and other mobile devices. Core gamers also like multiplayer games, as 70 percent play games with others "regularly or occasionally." Although, the way I see it, 70 percent isn't that high; it means that 30 percent are hardcore gamers and almost never go online... Added Callahan:

"Core gamers are an important part of the games industry and understanding their behavior is critical to anyone invested in the games space--especially considering the launch of the new consoles and the continued evolution of digital gaming."

I'm sure that in the coming years, the percentage of people who want discs will continue to decline. Those who grew up with physical will still want it; those who didn't won't care as much when it disappears.

Tags: gaming industry, physical media, digital media, gamers, gaming culture

5/14/2014 11:19:01 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

Beamboom
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 11:56:40 AM
Reply

I'd love to see the data behind this survey, especially the age spread and what platform they do their gaming on.

I would be hugely surprised if there is isn't a clear correlation between age and preference (as you too mention Ben), or if a majority of core PC gamers prefer physical media today - since digital distribution is much more established on that platform.

It's also very interesting to get confirmed that such a huge majority of core gamers play on smartphones as well. There goes that myth!

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/14/2014 12:09:51 PM

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matt99
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 3:52:40 PM

I agree, I think there's a significant correlation between age and what a person's preference is. I know this is only anecdotal but I'm in my early 20s and in the last year or so about half of all my game purchases have been digital and I can definitely see myself going all digital in the near future. Not to say that I prefer digital, I'm indifferent really but I have noticed myself buying digital more and more and a lot of my friends are the same.

I do love my physical game collection but these days unless you get a collectors edition there's no incentive to going physical because all you get is the case and the game, not even a manual anymore as those are all digital. I remember the first game I ever got was Jak and Daxter and it came with a map, I know that's not much but I thought it was so cool. But without that kind of incentive it really comes down to convenience for me, and it's obviously more convenient to click 'download' than to go out to the store.

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slow and smart
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 1:00:49 PM
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The price issue is i believe also a reason for this result:
with the games on disc i can go on the net and shop for the best prices,with digital only you can take it or leave it,
also bad connection;too bad for you then

But as i stated earlier,i want also digital[but not only digital]

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 1:14:21 PM

Ah but the question is, "if the price is the same", that's part of the premises for the poll.

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matt99
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 3:55:06 PM

The ability to pre-load the game sort of addresses the bad or slow internet connection issue if you're buying on day 1.But I agree for those with a bad connection download is definitely not preferable.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 2:08:54 PM
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seeing as to how gamers bemoaned the first proposed XO's digitalized world, and somewhat similarly Drive Club's PS+ service contengency, this percentage doesn't really surprise me.

Personally, on PC I'd take digital every time, but on a fixed spec with a relatively small HDD for today's massive games, physical will generally be where I'll be at. Once PS4's get much larger and download speeds improve I think I'll be fine in a digital only console world.

And yikes,I barely qualify as a core gamer anymore.

I game about 5-8 hours a week on avg.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 2:11:04 PM
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I'd like to see data on people's physical game collections too.

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pavlovic
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 6:29:12 PM
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I know the survey was conducted in the US, so I'll talk about my experience in Mexico with the PS consoles.

The PS Store is priced on US Dollars and not MX Pesos. The disc prices go to almost 75USD and the digital prices are the same as in the US (60USD).

The principal ISP in Mexico is offering between 5 to 10 Mb, enough to download a PS4 in 3 to 4 hours (PS3 games take like 7).

I prefer to save some money and go digital. I love my discs, but I'm trying to spend less money.



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ethird1
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 8:32:30 PM
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Core gamers all the way, baby! You are not saving anything by buying digital. Gas maybe, but most of the time you can buy a disc cheaper than the digital game!

Sony is trying to work digital in now with PS NOW, but it will fail. They tried to go all digital with the psp, remember? The day games go all digital for a console is the day games die.

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Big_Boss90
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 8:44:47 PM
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Both are great physical and Digital, so stop the which do gamers prefer war.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 @ 10:48:34 PM

If only there was some benefit to knowing what mode of delivery people typically spend their money on.... ;p

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xnonsuchx
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 2:21:11 AM
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• Digital download should be cheaper

• Too many users don't have good enough Internet access

• Even w/ a 1TB HDD installed, if many games are going to be 40GB or more of data, that's as few as ~20 games you can have on your system w/o having to re-download game data...so half that on a standard 500GB HDD system (this also goes to the previous point)

• Booklets in physical packaging can be far more useful than equivalent electronic documentation (depending on game)

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___________
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 3:25:58 AM
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its the instantaneous thing which makes people go retail rather than downloading.
when we can download full games within minutes, then people will consider downloading.
till then, whats the point?
you spend more if anything, seeing that $ony loves ripping their fans off!
you have to wait longer, you dont have anything to lend to friends or swap for something else.
its con, con, con, con, con, for 1 advantage, and thats not really a advantage either, ok you can switch games without getting up but seriously, come on not everyones as fat and lazy as americans!
right!?

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SASSYGIRL82
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 12:16:45 PM
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I like my discs but recently since my son has a ps3 I've found it cheaper n more convienent to go digital since 1 purchase nets the game 4 two ps3s n in some cases a discounted ps4 very but I did get a bf4 disc since I picked it up for less than $20

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PlatformGamerNZ
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 6:34:40 PM
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yeah i would say that this is pritty accurate as for the digital stuff thats really only some games for me the big games take up too much space so i usually opt for physical for that cos it's more practical and i've not played any multiplayer for awhile been playing through just cause 2 story which has been good but yea those who grew up with physical generally will want to keep it thats the way i see cos i'm one of them.

happy gaming =)

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