Chart: US Digital Gamers, 2019-2024

eMarketer estimates that the number of US digital gamers will grow by 5.0% this year to 174.7 million. That’s roughly 8 million more than last year, and an increase of 5 million gamers from the company’s previous forecast for 2020.

The last time growth was this high was in 2015, when the number of digital gamers increased by 5.5%. Read the rest at eMarketer.

The Rise Of Mobile Gamers

By comparison, eMarketer forecast in 2012 that mobile gamers would have the highest number of users among the different types of online game players in the US. Mobile gamers would also continue to grow more rapidly than other gaming audiences, reaching 141 million in 2014.

Increased smartphone ownership drove the rapid growth of mobile gaming. Between 2010 and 2012, the company expected smartphone gamers to grow from 45.8% to 75% of all mobile gamers.

In 2012, the average age of a US or UK mobile device owner who had played a game on the device in the past month (”mobile gamer”) was 39.5, while among those only playing games on a tablet, the average age was 44.7, per findings from a PopCap Games report released in June 2012.

16% of mobile gamers were 55 or older, while roughly two-thirds were less than 45 years old.

Interestingly, among the age groups, those older than 65 were far more likely to play only on a tablet than only on a mobile phone (26% vs. 4%), with 55-64-year-olds displaying a similar preference (23% vs. 9%).

The Rise Of Social Gamers

Social gamers saw rapid growth in 2010 and 2011, at 27% and 31%, respectively.

At the time, eMarketer expected the number of social gamers in the US to increase by 10% in 2012. Growth in 2013 and 2014 was expected to continue on a slow but steady climb, as social gaming inches towards maturity.

The rate of increase for social gamers at the time was higher than that of social network users, but eMarketer predicted the rates would inch closer in 2013 and 2014.

US Video Game Revenues By Type, 2009-2011

Chart - US Video Game Sales by Type

Video games attracted a significant chunk of money in the US in 2011.

According to the NPD Group, a total of $24.75 billion was spent on the games industry by US consumers in 2011, with a majority of content expenditures still going to traditional video games.

But a June 2012 report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) indicates the money being spent on games was slowly but surely migrating from console games to non-traditional formats.

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