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NPD: Xbox 360 Takes Half Of Console Online, But PC Still Dominates

The PC is still the dominant platform for online games, says a new study from the NPD Group, while Xbox 360 accounts for half of all online play on consoles.
In an era where multiplayer is thriving on consoles, the PC is still the dominant platform for online games, says a new study from the NPD Group. However, use of portable and home consoles for online play is up, from 19 percent of total online gaming (including PC) in 2008 to 25 percent of all online gaming in 2009. PC online gaming is relatively on the decline, according to the study, despite remaining the most widely-used method of playing games online overall. Xbox 360 accounts for half the console online gaming market, says the NPD, even though other systems saw a boost. Use of Wii's online features are up from 18 percent in 2008 to 29 percent of console online gaming in 2009, while PS3 stepped up from fifth to third place. The PlayStation 2, however, "fell dramatically," according to the study. In terms of micro-transactions, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners are downloading more content than owners of other systems. Overall, however, downloading has slowed compared to 2008. This slow-down in micro-transactions might be countered, the NPD claims, by focusing on expansion packs - generally, the most popular type of download - and particularly teens and heavy online gamers. Online gaming is increasing among young people, says NPD; the percent of online gamers aged 13-17 is up 17 percent. Percentages are down slightly among older players, though, in both the 18-34 and the 35-54 age groups. Overall, the company notes, the results are "a testament to the strength of Xbox 360, both overall, and particularly in the online gaming sphere." The report is based on online survey responses from just over 20,000 members of NPD’s online consumer panel. Respondents had to personally play video games on a PC, video game system or device used for gaming, and fieldwork was conducted from January 6–26, 2009.

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