PC and mobile gaming dominated 2012

Here's something you might not have seen coming: PC and mobile gaming were both more popular than console gaming this year.

Market research and consulting firm Newzoo reported that consumer gaming habits changed dramatically in 2012. Players spent the most money and time on PC gaming, with TV-based gaming ranking second. And 22 percent of Americans used all four primary screens for entertainment: television, PC, tablet, and smartphone.

While the total number of American gamers increased by 8 percent to 157 million, only 55 percent of them are paying for games. Others are turning to free to play — games like Guild Wars 2, which was critically and financially successful; Planetside 2; and Dust 514.

More gamers are going toward mobile as well. Tablet and handheld devices monetized twice as much as smartphone gaming although they have only half as many players. And 10 million Americans are playing on both tablets and smartphones.

Despite these surges, the overall market remained flat largely because gamers are spending less money and spreading those expenses across different platforms. The number of people spending money on games rose by 33 percent to 86 million Americans, but this resulted in only a 1 percent increase in money spent on games across the United States.

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[Game Informer]