The Changing Face of Gaming in Canada

Two Generations of GamersCanada’s video game demographic has significantly changed in make-up, explains the latest NPD Group report. It notably finds that children and baby boomers now outnumber young males in the gaming market.

This first ever consumer report on Canada’s gaming demographics details a trend where children enter the gaming market at much younger ages, while baby boomers tend to remain active or have re-entered the market recently. This essentially reforms the perception that gamers were mainly young men aged between of 18 to 35. Read More...

"We were surprised to find that the standard of the classic young male as video gaming enthusiast has forever changed," says Matthew Tattle, spokesperson for NPD Canada's Games group in a news release. "With the increasing adoption of a digitally-based lifestyle by the majority of consumers, it was only a matter of time before we would see gaming become part of the mainstream."

Another contributing factor to the change in landscape is the rapid and significant growth of the industry. Video game sales, including portable and console hardware, software and accessories have generated revenues of more than $1.8 billion for the 12 months ending June 2008, according to the market research firm. This constitutes a 56 per cent increase over the previous period, where sales had reached $1.2 billion in revenue.

The study identified seven distinctive gamer segments in the Canadian market:

  • Extreme Gamers, who play on average 49 hours per week, own two consoles and at least one portable
  • Casual Console Gamers, who play about five hours a week on consoles and another two hours per week on PCs
  • Portable Gamers, who play on average 15 hours per week, split evenly between portables, consoles and the PC
  • Console Gamers, who play on average 13.8 hours per week and represent the largest segment of the market both in terms of number of gamers (29 per cent) as well as share of software revenue (35 per cent)
  • Casual PC Gamers, who spend more than nine hours per week playing PC games
  • Offline PC Gamers, who play a total of 10 hours per week; they are the oldest gamers with an average age of 40
  • Heavy Online PC Gamers, who play about 18 hours per week, most of it online on their PCs

The report also notes a drop in PC-gaming sales, having dipped 20 per cent over the period ending in June 2008. On the other hand, next-gen console game sales enjoyed a 56 per cent increase over the same period. According to NDP, the stark contrast indicates growing adoption of newer technologies by the Canadian public.

"The gaming industry is alive and well in Canada with all signs indicating increased growth in the coming months and years ahead," added Tattle. "As Canadians continue to embrace technology, companies will create games that reflect the sophistication and engagement that is now a priority for dedicated and casual gamers alike."

NDP Group conducted their survey with 16,774 participants between June 13 and 30. It also included six- to 17-year-olds, whose results were captured through parental assistance.