I hope you like Tomb Raider's forced multiplayer, because NPD's latest study provides more coal to big publishers's firery intiative to have multiplayer in more games. NPD polled 8,800 US gamers, discovering that 72 percent play online (five percent more than last year) and spent six percent of their week spent playing games online. The overall rise in gaming time per week is nine percent.
The results applied across "every type of device," though PC remains the most popular for onling gaming; 68 percent of the subjects play on PC, but that's four percent less than last year. Mobile devices saw the biggest rise in numbers, standing now at 56 percent of users who online game.
Another trend, paving the way for next-gen consoles, is digital distribution. The study showed that 38 percent preferred to buy games online, up from 35 percent last year.
You can't fight against numbers, so expect to see publishers continue to focus on multiplayer titles and digital purchase options. While I pointed out Tomb Raider's lackluster multiplayer at the top, let's also remember that such innovative, single-player games like Journey and Dark Souls could also fall under "online gaming."
72% of gamers play online - NPD [GamesIndustry International]