Social gaming survey reveals key trends among players

Average user is 43 year old female; 35% say consumption has increased in last 3 months

A survey of social game users in the US and UK has discovered that - contrary to the typical gamer profile - the average social gamer is a 43 year old female.

According to the survey's findings, 55 per cent of social gamers are female, while 46 per cent of American respondents were aged 50 and above. That figure dropped to 23 per cent in the UK. Just 6 per cent of gamers surveyed were aged below 21.

The study - carried out by the Information Solutions Group on behalf of PopCap Games - was an online one completed by almost 5000 people. Of those 5000, 1202 - 24 per cent - said that they played social games for more than 15 minutes a week. Those were the people who were quizzed for the survey.

Female gamers, the study found, were more likely to play social games with real-world friends than male gamers were - 68 per cent of them compared to 56 per cent of males. While males were more inclined than females to play online with strangers - 41 per cent compared to 33 per cent.

The vast majority - 95 per cent - said they played social games multiple times per week, while 64 per cent said they played at least once a day.

61 per cent said the length of an average gaming session was over half an hour, while 1 in 10 said an average session lasted for over three hours.

And 35 per cent said their consumption of social games had increased over the last three months, compared to 10 per cent who said it had decreased.

Facebook was named as the most popular destination for social gamers with 83 per cent saying it was the site they used for gaming. 24 per cent said they play on MySpace, 7 per cent said Bebo and 5 per cent used Friendster.

Nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) said they log into social network sites specifically to play games.

53 per cent of the gamers said they've earned and/or spent virtual currency in a social game, while 28 per cent had purchased virtual currency with real money and 32 per cent had purchased a virtual gift.

However, a quarter said that they'd been misled by an ad or other 'special offer' tied into a social game they've played at some point.

"This study establishes social games as a fast-growing and quickly maturing pastime for an enormous portion of the population," noted Robin Boyar, founder and principal at Thinktank Research.

"And with more than 80 per cent of social gamers stating that playing social games strengthens their relationship with friends, family and colleagues, social gaming reinforces the core appeal of social networks."

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Latest comments (5)

Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven8 years ago
"while 1 in 10 said an average session lasted for over three hours. " these are pretty hardcore social gamers :p
thanks for the interesting article, i had no clue about these numbers.
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Olivier Szymanezyk Studying PhD Computing, University of Lincoln8 years ago
What are the sources of these numbers? I'm interested to see that research :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Olivier Szymanezyk on 18th February 2010 1:15pm

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Katherine Brice Deputy Editor, GamesIndustry.biz8 years ago
Here is a (pdf) link to the PopCap/Info Solutions Group survey in more detail Olivier...
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Show all comments (5)
Olivier Szymanezyk Studying PhD Computing, University of Lincoln8 years ago
Thank you, much appreciated :)
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games8 years ago
Hey :) Social games are hardcore if you chose to play them as such :)

This is a very interesting research and i believe it is very much to the point if i can judge from my "neighbours" in the more "female friendly" games (which are the majority i think). But also in "male oriented" games where i see a lot of women enjoying :)

Some of the games are great, and some enable you to participate and enjoy even without having to buy virtual currency further boosting their user base. I never bought virtual currency, but i enjoy helping my friends in "raids" or competing for levels, collecting items, etc. friends that there was never a chance in a million i would play a game with them like CoD or WoW.

Social Networks are ofc the place to be for casual social gaming. Huge wealth of themes and full on creativity in an otherwise limited platform. Many good fresh ideas. I have also seen the first MMORPG style 3d games arriving. Still in their infancy as the technology is a bit unsuitable yet, but quite decent approach. I guess with the popularity they gain very soon we will see many well known engines supporting the development of such games.

i.e. i know unreal already has an online version While this is far from what we know as a game and ofc next gen visuals, it proves that it is very much doable and only a matter of time. After all, next gen visuals don't constitute by themselves a great game.

I do play a bit to relax at home after my ME2 or Forged Alliance, Aion etc. session, but not as much as i see some friends' of mine play. I see a friend of mine in one of them for example being over level 500!!!

That is hardcore :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yiannis Koumoutzelis on 22nd February 2010 3:24am

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