US still the gaming super power

New study shows US plays the most, on more devices, and online

A new report by GameTrack shows that America is still the Western world's gaming superpower. American gamers still outnumber their UK counterparts, they play across more devices and mediums, and they also show the largest appetite for online gaming.

Thanks to the study, run by Ipsos nMediaCT, we know that almost half of the American gaming audience (48 per cent) play online games, compared 42 per cent who played packaged games. And while it's still easy to think of big MMOs like World Of Warcraft when online gaming is mentioned, 27 per cent of that online gaming in the US is through browsers. 31 per cent also played games through apps on their phones and tablets, a figure that seems surprisingly low considering most people have a mobile phone capable of hosting those apps.

By comparison the UK gamers are still traditionalists, with packaged games still the biggest part of the audiences' gaming diet, followed by online and apps. In the online category play is distributed evenly over downloads, social, multiplayer and browser.

This order of importance for packaged, online and app games is mirrored by France, Germany and Spain. In monetary terms, packaged is still the most important player, although the report notes this share is falling in both the UK and Spain.


Graph courtesy of GameTrack

What is also interesting is how many gamers in each country play all three, packaged, online and apps. Again, Americans are the most button happy, with 17 per cent. The numbers are significantly smaller elsewhere, with a paltry 5 per cent in the UK, 3 per cent in France and Spain and 2 per cent in Germany. It's a stark reminder that outside the hardcore market gaming everywhere and anywhere isn't too much of a concern to your average person. Although this may be a generational difference, according to results gathered from the younger participants.

“Amongst kids, gaming across categories is more common than it is amongst adults, pointing to a future gamer comfortable playing across different platforms. Kids' convergence is strongest in the UK, where 36 per cent of kids play all categories,” says GameTrack.

“This is some way ahead of Germany, where for example, only 9 per cent of kids play all three categories. The US doesn't have quite as much difference between adults (17 per cent) and kids (22 per cent) playing all three gaming types.”

When it came to devices, it's a draw for computers and consoles as to which machine is the most popular device for gaming in the UK. Smartphones, handhelds and tablets followed. In the US, perhaps reflecting, or even causing, their love for online and browser titles, computers come first, followed by consoles. In fact PCs came top across all the listed countries.


Graph courtesy of GameTrack

As well as what they were playing and how, the report focused on how many people were playing. The UK comes in third on that score, with 35 per cent, equivalent to 20 million people, stating that they had played a game in the last twelve months. In second place was France at 49 per cent (29 million people) and the US boasting 165 million with 68 per cent.

The study surveyed over 6000 people per country, using a mix of interviews and online surveys, and included both adults up to the age of 64 and children aged six and over. This added up to around 24,000 interviews per quarter across Europe alone.

Latest comments (8)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
But not for long. China will soon overtake. With MMOs and mobile. 1.3 billion people.
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(I'm not korean) but I think Korea is the most connected, so I'm not sure if this study covers that, so I think without coverage of asian countries which have more connectivity, mobile and tablet devices worldwide, surely the title might be misleading and better phrased as US is still mighty only in the "western hemisphere"
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
China will not be next. Our app got featured on China Mobile's front page for a week - it was probably seen by a billion people (their reach is two billion according to their site).

Net sales for that month? Can't remember tbh, it was about $500. A reasonable /day/ for the USA.

Whatever reason it is, piracy, no credit cards, dislike of western products (ours is localised), the net effect is that they just don't buy stuff ime.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 11th December 2012 2:13pm

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Show all comments (8)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
China I know a bit about. Have been there quite a few times. Have friends there. Had a protracted legal case against Evony which I won. Am right now sitting opposite my Chinese market staff member.

In China over 450 million people are on the internet. The government like and regulate gaming, it is panacea for the masses. The industry is worth $5-6 billion a year just now. At a rough guess.

Major Chinese publishers include Netdragon, NetEase, Tencent, The9, Shanda, ChangYou, Kongzhong, Giant Interactive and Perfect World. They are brilliant at FTP and monetisation, a couple of years ahead of us. Zynga borrow from them. FarmVille is based on the Chinese game called Happy Farm. The original native version of which had 23 million daily active users.

Western games can do well in China. Just look at Angry Birds on App Annie. Rovio went for an advertising based business model and it worked well for them.

And China may already be the number one video gaming country in the world by numbers of gamers and amount of play time. It is just that the nature of their industry is different to ours, so CoD isn't a significant cultural phenomenon there.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
I think that's the rub of it - their customs and culture is very different from what we're used to here. The internet has shrunk the world, but it's still pretty damned big with lots of room for different types of people.

I can only speak from personal experience and my observations are statistically irrelevant. But I won't be experimenting in that market again for a while either. If you have a good "in" there, I hope it works out better for you than it did for us, good luck with it.
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China. Dont venture alone without a big stick or a trusted local chinese partner.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development5 years ago
I definitely agree with Ming Wong? though, we had great success in Korea. They're mental into gaming with awesome internet, plenty of disposable income and there's a lot of them. If you want to try out the Eastern markets, S. Korea has got to be the place you start.

God I hate generalising like this, but it's kinda unavoidable given the subject.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
Lets not forget that the US has an economy about as big as its three nearest rivals put together and its growing... The proportion of that relating to technology and games is pretty damn huge.
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