Online gaming on consoles saw a healthy rise in popularity this year, while online PC gaming declined slightly despite remaining the most popular overall.
According to market research firm The NPD Group's latest Online Gaming 2009 report, online gaming done on consoles is on the rise, having increased from 19 percent to 25 percent from 2008 to 2009. Naturally, as consoles gain ground the PC loses some, but overall it remains the most popular platform for online gaming.
The Xbox 360 takes up the bulk of the action here, holding 50 percent of online gaming done on consoles thanks to the strength and popularity of Xbox Live. Other consoles weren't quiet on this front though, as the Wii, despite what some would say are meager online offerings, boosted up from 18 percent last year to 22 percent this year. The PS3 also made gains, moving up from fifth place in the standings to third.
The report also had some interesting things to say about age demographics for online games. It seems that there was an increase in online gaming for people age 13-17 while 18-34 and 35-54 year-olds seem to be playing less. That strikes me as a bit odd - I thought all the cool older kids these days were playing Left 4 Dead online.
For the NPD, though, this demographic shift highlights the diversity of the online gaming space. "Online gaming is enjoyed by a diverse group of players," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "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."
The study was carried out via online survey over the course of January. Over 20,000 people who play games online were polled from ages 2 and over. Oh, so they're surveying toddlers now? No wonder the Wii made gains!