Canadians Spending More Time with Mobile Games

According to Video Game Acquisition in Canada, a recent study from The NPD Group, physical video game sales are down, while digital downloading – predominantly driven by free downloads – is on the rise. Though many Canadians prefer the old console format, the increased availability of digital content paired with a greater amount of connected devices has driven an increase in the number of consumers gaming online.

On average, 17.3 games were acquired per user in 2012, but this number has declined to 15.4 in 2013. The trend is due primarily to a drop in physical sales attributed to fewer new title releases over the past year (25 per cent less). Further, the way people are playing video games continues to shift, with Canadians spending more time on mobile handheld devices like tablets and smart phones. Consequently, mobile gaming has grown to be a major part of the video game industry. The NPD Group estimates that the digital channel has increased from approximately 50 per cent of total acquisitions in 2012 to 58 per cent in 2013, however paid digital gaming has only seen modest gains over the past three years. Free play has nearly doubled in share of acquisitions since 2011, opening up a world of new casual gamers.

Behaviourally, the average consumer is spending about the same amount of time gaming this year as last, which is roughly seven hours per week. However, over one third of Canadian gamers (35 per cent) claimed to have cut back on how much they spend on video games, while only one in five (19 per cent) are spending more.

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