ECA President Questions Reports of Gamer Decline

ECA President Questions Reports of Gamer Decline

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Entertainment Consumers Association President Hal Halpin says the NPD Group's research methodology is "flawed."

The market research and analysis firm NPD Group made a rather surprising claim earlier this week, saying that the number of gamers in the U.S. had actually declined by five percent, representing a loss of 12 million people. A study that divided gamers into six distinct segments - Core, Avid PC, Casual PC, Digital, Mobile, and Family+Kid - found that all but Digital and Mobile had suffered serious declines, resulting in an overall slide in the population.

But ECA President Hal Halpin isn't buying it. "If you look at the data holistically - across all platforms and devices - I think it hard to believe that the number of people gaming is doing anything but dramatically increasing," he told NBC. "While I have a lot of respect for the NPD Group and the research that they do, their methodology can be flawed when looking at gamers and gaming in its totality."

Halpin's concerns seem to stem largely from the need to define who qualifies as a "gamer" in the first place. "Years ago, I was fairly regularly asked by the media, 'Who is a Gamer?' and I think that question has been answered by the obvious: it's now easier to ask, who isn't?" he continued. "With the ubiquity of tablets and phones, I'm hard-pressed to even think of someone I know who hasn't recently played a game."

It's never smart to place gut feelings above hard facts, but if the method of data collection is flawed or incomplete, then everything becomes a bit of a crapshoot. Conventional console sales may be in decline, which NPD analyst Anita Frazier said isn't surprising given that we're nearing the end of a very long console cycle, but the NPD's ability to track digital sales is spotty at best, and the seemingly arbitrary distinction between, say, PC and Core gamers, or Mobile and Digital, is just asking for trouble. There's no question that the market is changing, but Halpin said that market research must change along with it.

"I think that researchers are in a quandary, especially now, with how to identify types and categories of gamers," he said. "I don't envy them the job, but researchers truly need to re-think their entire approach to identifying the demographic because the old models just don't work any more."

Source: NBC

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"Our researches are in a quandary because their data doesn't conform to my opinion."
There IS a difference between causal and core gamers sir.

Andy Chalk:
Conventional console sales may be in decline, which NPD analyst Anita Frazier said isn't surprising given that we're nearing the of a very long console cycle

"nearing the end of a very long console cycle" perhaps? Quickly, correct it before anyone else notices!

Desworks:

Andy Chalk:
Conventional console sales may be in decline, which NPD analyst Anita Frazier said isn't surprising given that we're nearing the of a very long console cycle

"nearing the end of a very long console cycle" perhaps? Quickly, correct it before anyone else notices!

Dammit you beat me to it.

I noticed! lol

I agree. If you look at only hardware sales than ya gaming is probably declining, but I would bet that this is pretty much always the case or will be if we have really long console generations. If you count every device I think the opposite would be true.

seditary:

Desworks:

Andy Chalk:
Conventional console sales may be in decline, which NPD analyst Anita Frazier said isn't surprising given that we're nearing the of a very long console cycle

"nearing the end of a very long console cycle" perhaps? Quickly, correct it before anyone else notices!

Dammit you beat me to it.

I noticed! lol

Just about to post that as well.

I can agree that for some people there is a divide on whether someone is actually a 'gamer'.
I have a long history of playing games, i followed historic events in the video game industry, i got bullied in school for playing games yet watched said bullies start playing games as it became a popular thing to do.
I explore games which don't receive the huge marketing they require to surface to many people. So if one of those people comes up to me and asks if i've heard of a new game called "Skyrim", i know that they belong to a certain group which may play games, but certainly arn't like me.

Seems like the ECA is in denial and trying to play semantics games to get around the facts. Truthfully I think they are right as I've noticed a drop off in people buying new games myself, even popular, highly anticipated games, are being viewed a loot more cooly than before. I think we're starting to see a lot of the behaviors of the game industry trickle down now, where people are deciding a lof of the gouging just isn't worth it. Not to mention with the economy being such a mess, and due to get worse if anything else, one has to understand that gaming is going to be one of the first things to go for most people especially as the demands of game producers grow as people's income drops.

The comments about the whole portable/phone type game marketplace (which also fuels the digital designation) are probably accurate though, because really almost everyone has a device like a cell phone or personal organizer/tablet that can also play games, and dropping a buck or so on a game isn't anything special. BUT I expect this to tank as well, just in the short time I've had my Kindle: Fire (which is the only thing I have that plays apps) I've noticed that the prices have been creeping up, as well as the increasingly routine apperance of some games people want $6 or $7 for. As the entire "it's only a buck" mentality goes away due to the rising prices (it hasn't happened yet though) I think you'll see the bottom fall out of this too.

 

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