It looks like more American kids are getting into the game, as market researcher The NPD Group revealed that 82% (55.7 million) of the two- to 17-year-old set are current gamers, according to its recent Kids and Gaming 2009 report.
Of that number, the smallest segment is the 9.7 million two to fives, and the largest number is 12.4 million, comprising kids nine to 11. Meanwhile, gamers between ages 12 to 14 are playing games at 10.6 hours per week, though there’s also been a decrease in that time spent with older teens, ages 15-17. The NPD also remarks that teens 15 to 17 and females are the groups most likely to report spending less time gaming and playing online this year as compared to last year.
Industry analyst Anita Frazier notes that the decline likely comes from maturing interests and bigger competition for attention and dollar spend as a result of other entertainment, school work and parents imposing limits on game time
The report also found that kids use an average of 2.5 systems/devices for gaming, with the nine-to-11 and 12 to 14 sets using three sets on average. Gaming on non-traditional gaming devices (i.e cell phones, PDMPs) has also grown in popularity as kids get older, peaking with older teens between 15 to 17.
As for online gaming, the report revealed more than half (51%) of kid gamers play games online, and are more inclined to be male, ages nine to 14.