Total number of US gamers has declined

Although it seems impossible, the number of Americans playing video games has declined from last year.Despite all the advancements in the industry and concerted efforts to expand the industry and make gaming more accessible, there are 5% fewer gamers in the US than there were in 2011, according to a new study from NPD Group.

In 2012, the research firm said, there are 211.5 million active gamers throughout the country. That’s still a pretty solid number, but it is indeed less than the firm’s study last year.

What has happened, according to NPD, is that the casual gaming segments like “mobile gamers” and “digital gamers,” have seen increases in popularity, but that has not been enough to offset the decline in other areas, like hardcore and avid gamers.

The biggest decline was with people that NPD categorizes as “family + kid gamers,” which it said saw a 17.4 million user decline in 2012.

“Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it’s not surprising to see a slight decline in the Core Gamer segment,” said NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier.

This has also led to declines in revenue, since hardcore gamers spend much more on their gaming content than mobile or casual gamers.

“It’s the revenue contribution of the Core Gamer segment that continues to outpace all other segments, and remains vital to the future of the industry,” said Frazier.