85% Of Online Gaming On PC

A new NPD survey, published yesterday, suggests the average amount of time spent in online gaming grew by 10% in 2009. The number of digitally downloaded games purchased also grew for the third year in a row. Well, duh. Perhaps the most interesting statistic, however, is that the PC still dominates online gaming: “The PC is still the most-used system for online gaming, with 85% of online gamers reporting using a PC for online gaming activities.” The overall population of people playing online has, however, dropped slightly, which seems kind of odd/unlikely to me, given the Facebook gaming boom.


  1. Psychopomp says:

    And 70% of it is MMOs, and 10% is MW2

  2. Heliocentric says:

    This just in:Npd extrapolate* from near nothing.

    How did they even measure “online play” on the pc? Were they including ds? What about playstation 2 network adapters? Does every idle eve player get counted?

    *make shit up

    • Scott Kevill says:

      You could read the article, you know. :)

    • Heliocentric says:

      The only time i have for npd these days is to say they are bullmongers. 90% of pc gaming is dying can be traced back to npd. Just because they now say something i like hearing (that pc is somehow dominant) doesn’t mean they are a organisation devoted to truth and love.

  3. Scott Kevill says:

    Lies, damned lies, and NPD.

  4. ManaTree says:

    Relevant Steam stats!

    link to store.steampowered.com

    Click “View Steam players by game” to unlock what I mean.

    • Carra says:

      Interesting numbers. The CoD2 lack of dedicated servers doesn’t seem to matter much…

      Also, Counter-Strike 1 at the third place? Impressive.

    • Web Cole says:

      BioShock 2 is only 3 places above “Rome: Total War”, and one below “Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II”.

      … say whaaa?!

    • Tei says:

      Re: link to store.steampowered.com
      688 1,766 Mass Effect 2
      647 1,678 Portal
      630 1,443 Dragon Age: Origins

      Valve viral marketing more effective than Dragon Age remanents marketing. Valve is doing a something that seems PC gamers like. humm…

  5. Optimaximal says:

    This should be interesting – in lieu of Valve actually releasing any figures for Steam, the publishers really only have NPD data to list, only they’ve historically only talked retail/online sales, not digital downloads.

    Another point of note is that these figures represent legitimate sales – the heavily weighted majority of online games, pirated shards not included, will be legit sales/purchases.

    How can the pubs continually realistically ignore this humongous market, MMOs not withstanding!

  6. Risingson says:

    It isn’t true! pc gaming is dead! DEAD! DEEEAD!

    • Sarlix says:

      Nah I’m afraid not, Enviro-Bear 2010 has single handedly saved PC gaming. FACT

  7. TooNu says:

    EvE authenticating!!! Jim playing again? just admit it Jim, ADMIT IT!

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’ve done my time, sadly.

    • Paul says:

      You’ll be back…. No one leaves Eve for good :P

      (took a two year break to rekindle my interest, but playing again hehe)

  9. Daedren says:

    There is something inherently wrong with the statistical analysis of something like online gaming.

    It’s like trying to get statistics on crackheads. Of course, as we all know, people smoke crack. However, they’re usually too busy smoking said crack, being strung out, or lying in their own vomit or whatever. To get a good idea of how many crackheads there were in a given city, you wouldn’t set up a survey booth in the nicest part of town and hope they come and fill out a form. You’d have to go into the ghetto and start knocking down doors and looking at abandoned houses.

    It’s the same for online gaming. As a former WoW / MMO addict, I know what it’s like. Unless there was a monetary benefit of doing these ‘surveys’, or some epic phat lewts that came with it (yay, a NPD mini-pet for my achievement!), there is no way in hell any real gamer (especially of the MMO variety) would take the time to do that. They’d be too busy playing WoW in their underwear, chasing that virtual carrot with every tepid, caffeine fueled breath they took. Weekly downtime, you say? That’s the time to shop for groceries or for an extended pr0n session. Doing surveys on some wank statistics site ranks down there with ‘performing gastric bypass on hamster’ and ‘watching C-SPAN’ as alternative activities to playing an addicting game online.

    Bottom line, 85% of people that like to do surveys online seem to play PC games online too, up from 75% people last year that also liked to do surveys online. Using a computer to do the online surveys, I might add. Statistics *could* be slightly off, as the medium the survey is about is being, well, used at the time. I’m sure there is a witty analogy for this, something like surveying the % of people that drive cars by asking people actually in cars or something. No, that’s no good.

    That’s all, have a hamster to anesthetize. (yes I had to look that up.)

    • Morbid Florist says:

      Your obsession with crack analogies to MMO gamers is borderline … well, I can’t decide to laugh or cry.

      Well said, though. ;)

      BTW, need to get your blog back up, miss reading it!

    • Daedren says:

      @MF: Yeah, keep forgetting to update my hosting. Doh! Always get a few emails when that happens.

  10. jon_hill987 says:

    It is not really surprising that most on-line gaming is done on a PC, not when you consider that they have to put up with shitty player hosted games and things like never getting updates to fix the glitches in TF2.

  11. Evo says:

    Utter tripe. We all know no one plays games on the PC. Who are these NPD fools to deny the word of CliffyB?

    • oceanclub says:

      I’d like to see CliffyB and Cliffski together in an animated sitcom – sort of an “Odd Couple” for games developers.

      Tonight’s episode: While Cliffski relaxes with Radio 4, RPS and a snifter of brandy, CliffyB decides to play a fratboy gag involving a pizza, a hole and a male appendage.


  12. PixelCody says:

    100% Of PC Gaming Online, Say Ubisoft

  13. Mike says:

    Your headline’s not quite right.

    “85% of online gamers reporting using a PC for online gaming activities”

    If I play WoW and play on the XBox too, I still count for that 85%. So it’s not quiite 85% of gaming in total, it’s just that 85% of people who play online play at least one game on their PC online too. Pedantry, I know…

    Other than that, I don’t know why people get so crazy when statistics get posted. I mean, let’s be skeptical, sure, but not everyone is out to lie to you with numbers.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      True enough, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t flat out wrong.

    • Mike says:

      No, no, ‘course not. And I always feel like an arse for pointing stuff like this out. Just saying, it’s easy to get overeager in defence of the PC (see: this comments thread) but we’re not completely dominating out there. It’s certainly the broadest online community, though.

  14. robrob says:

    Does this include single player AssCreed 2? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  15. Clummer says:

    anyone can pull stats out of their ass
    did you know 85% of stats are pulled from asses??

    anyway this one is very irrelevant
    “online gaming” also means people playing hearts online, or fucking farmeville on facebook even
    how many mouthbreathing console owners have it hooked up to the net? come on, seriously, I know you guys are clinging to straw and will take anything to promote gaming on the pc but this is such a stupid stat

    • TeeJay says:

      Who is “you guys” aimed at?

      Nothing wrong with RPS *reporting* NPD figures seeing as they are about the only figures around, nothing wrong with people here discussing the NPD figures (the general view seems to be NPD are rubbish). Jim’s article seems sceptical enough in tone.

      “mouthbreathing console owners” = weak trolling. Most people here play games on all sorts of formats, from old-school Atari 2600, to mac, iphone, wii, boardgames, whatever. The fact that this site generally (but not 100%) focusses on pc games isn’t a declaration of war on ‘everything else’.

      The point here is to intelligently discuss something PC-gaming related that has appeared in the news. I can’t see anyone here trying to use this to promote or denigrate anything. I can’t see anyone else here who wants to insult others/themselves over the use of one video-gaming format or another – except you.

      …anyway, on with the ‘intelligent discussion’ (hopefully)

  16. TeeJay says:

    I don’t want to insult anyone here who does NPD surveys but I can’t see how this can be seen as good quality. While the NPD ‘consumer panel’ (as they grandly call it) is massive it seems that they “pay” people via “points” that can be spent on free entry to sweepstakes and unlike some consumer panels they don’t seem to actually pay people cash. Is this really going to attract a true cross section of the general public, a cross section of gamers or any other group? Even if they “adjust” the sample to reflect national demographics this is just going to ‘balance’ the sample by age, income, location and so forth… while helping slightly it won’t get around the basic problem of “self-selection” = 100% of the respondants are also people who spend their time filling in forms to earn ‘points’ for online sweepstakes/prizes. I can think of a whole range of people who *never* – and would never – waste their time doing this – myself included. Maybe I am stereo-typing/prejudiced but in my experience this is only ever going to be a certain ‘type’ of person, which skews the whole things right from the start.

    Would anyone else posting here ever bother seeking out the NPD website to sign up in order to earn “points” for “sweepstakes”?

  17. bookwormat says:

    According to the report, 71 percent of online gamers reported that they purchased or received a game(s) over the 2009 holiday season (Oct.-Dec.)

    This indicates that the NPD group did not actually research gaming, but only a small niche subset of gaming. I doubt that the average gamer purchases or receives games. 71% is a ridiculous result.

    My guess is that more than 95% of people who play video games only play the free stuff, like Tetris Microsoft Solitaire, Mafiawars or Farmville. There are more people playing farmville than people who have a video game console. And most games that are released on consoles are 3D action games, which are mostly played offline..

    So my guess is than the percentage of people who play games online on an open PC system is more like 99.9999 or whatever.

  18. Ayeohx says:

    I don’t know if the XBox will ever beat out the PC as the online gaming platform but if Microsoft relaxed their rules about MMOs we’d probably see higher numbers. I think Conan and Champions Online got lost in the red tape though I hear that Champions on the 360 may still see the light of day.

  19. CrisisMaven says:

    As I see you are mentioning statistical research: I have put one of the most comprehensive link lists for hundreds of thousands of statistical sources and indicators on my blog: Statistics Reference List. And what I find most fascinating is how data can be visualised nowadays with the graphical computing power of modern PCs, as in many of the dozens of examples in these Data Visualisation References. If you miss anything that I might be able to find for you or if you yourself want to share a resource, please leave a comment.

  20. Magic H8 Ball says:

    EVE login screen?

    Come on guys. I’m sure when we read that info we all thought about a slightly different MMORPG than EVE.

  21. Winterborn says:

    Crack does not make you vomit. Smack does, maybe you’re thinking of that.

  22. remover says:

    Surveys being used to measure something completely quantifiable results in completely inaccurate results. Good day.

    Besides, who’s to say the psychological profile of some giant margin of gamers would even participate in such things?

    Pseudoscientific marketing tripe is all this is.

  23. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Pseudoscientific marketing tripe is all this is.

    How can you not believe average gamer is over 30 and half of all gamers are women? There are pie charts to prove it. Pie charts!