Study says 63% of Americans are video gamers

Port Washington (NY) - An expansion into the casual video game market has helped to expand gaming to 63% of the US population, according to  NPD.

The industry tracking group reported the results in a new report titled Expanding the Games Market.  NPD said this is largely due to an increase in the amount of casual games, as seen in the Nintendo DS and Wii, and a bigger push to that market from the Xbox 360.

"The new type of game experiences brought to the market over the past several years are succeeding in reaching a broader audience," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

The report also said that the "heaviest" gamers are males aged 18 - 34, the group typically seen as the stereotypical gaming crowd.  Of those surveyed who said they played games, 30% said they are playing more frequently than last year.  40% said they were spending about the same time in games.

Frazier said that, although the numbers are positive for the video game industry, there is still work to be done.  "The challenge for the industry is that consumers are a fickle group, and with the great variety of options pulling at their limited free time, they're going to be easily distracted unless something really compels them to stay with gaming," she said.