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NPD: Only 6% Of U.S. Consumers Have Downloaded Content Through Game Consoles

NPD Group said Tuesday that there is still a "large and untapped" market for connected devices and digital content, with only 6 percent of U.S. consumers have downloaded content through game consoles.
NPD Group said Tuesday that there is still a "large and untapped" market for connected devices and digital content, with only 6 percent of U.S. consumers having downloaded content through game consoles. "What we learned in our research is that while some people already experience the world in a connected way, most do not," said NPD VP and senior entertainment analyst Russ Crupnick. He said that most people that access digital content aren't looking for the "flashiest apps," but are still performing basic online tasks like email and web browsing. NPD added that 75 percent of U.S. consumers aged 13 and older did not connect or download content in the prior three months. Aside from the 6 percent of U.S. consumers that downloaded content through a video game console, only 15 percent connected and downloaded content via PC or Mac, 4 percent through a smartphone and 2 percent through a connected Blu-ray player or digital player like Apple TV or Roku. That doesn't mean that there isn't growing demand for more entertainment-focused digital content like gaming -- the low adoption rate of "flashier" applications means there's plenty of market opportunities for even more connected devices and digital content, NPD said. "The promise of the connected experience is coming, as prospective Blu-ray owners want their players to come with connectivity, and half of game consoles are already connected. The doors are also opening wider for music, video, gaming and other forms of entertainment," said Crupnick. Blu-ray players are continuing to come down in price, and are a "prime avenue" to deliver broadband content to living rooms, NPD said. Connected TVs are also seeing growing adoption among U.S. residents. Gaming is one of the main components of the burgeoning digital age, driving adoption rates of services like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection, where gamers and non-gamers can view movies and TV shows, listen to music and download games. Social gaming is also a growing, connected entertainment experience that's moving beyond the desktop onto mobile devices, and games are the most popular category on Apple's iTunes App Store. "Today’s gamer might be a hard-core teen-ager playing games online with his friends, a 40-something female playing Farmville on Facebook, or everything on either side of that spectrum,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. "We would not have seen this type of audience diversification and expansion if it weren’t for connected internet, smartphone, and online gaming options."

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