Friday, February 10, 2012

135 Million Americans Play Digital Games

The number of Americans playing at least one hour of digital games per month has doubled in the past three years, according to a new study from research firm Parks Associates, whose data also show that increasing mobile-device usage and the boom in online social gaming account for most of this growth.

According to the study, “Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games,” the number of Americans playing casual games increased from 56 million in 2008 to 135 million last year. Eighty percent of that group utilizes games that are free to play through computer downloads or by logging into Facebook. Desktop computers and laptops remain the most popular gaming platforms, just ahead of gaming consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Free-to-play games available on Facebook are predicted to grow in popularity, and the revenue they generate is expected to increase, in the coming years. These games monetize through a combination of advertising and in-game transactions. Parks Associates found, for example, that while only 5% to 10% of social gamers make in-game purchases of virtual goods, the amount they spend is on par with in-game purchases made by gamers playing on consoles. Facebook gamers spend an average $29 per month while casual players spend $24 to $27 per month.

The Parks Associates study predicts that digital gaming will increase over the next several years. Mobile games will likely account for most of the increase as late adopters purchase mobile devices and application-store inventories continue to grow. Digital gaming, in other words, is an industry built for longevity.

From the article, "135 Million Americans Play Digital Games" by Brandy Betz

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