According to a report entitled Online Gaming 2013 from industry data analysts The NPD Group, online gaming increased in size last year in terms of both the number of U.S. gamers playing online as well as the time they spent doing so.

The number of self-reporting gamers going online to play games stood at 72 percent of 8,867 individuals surveyed ages 2(?) and up. This is a five-percent increase from 2012.

The report also says that the average number of hours spent gaming online in a week rose six percent among the "majority of devices surveyed." Although the press release (see page two) mentioned PC gamers (the largest segment of those playing online) and mobile (which showed an increase of 12 percent online usage), specific systems weren't mentioned.

Despite this uptick, the NPD report says that 62 percent of those surveyed still preferred to own a physical copy of games when the pricing and availability were the same between the two.

Given the numbers in this report, it's interesting to speculate if Microsoft is looking at the same numbers as there is increased chatter that the company's upcoming new Xbox will require an online connection.