Macrovision has revealed the results of a new worldwide survey of the casual games market, highlighting numerous misconceptions about its audience and their consumption habits.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the survey, which polled 789 consumers who play casual PC games through Macrovision's Trymedia network, is that 37 per cent of participants stated that they play nine or more game sessions per week.
The length of the gameplay sessions further challenged the preconceived idea of 'casual' gaming, with 66 per cent playing for at least an hour each time and 31 per cent spending more than two hours in each gameplay session.
Loren Hillberg, Macrovision's EVP and general manager of commerce, commented: "Our survey has determined that mainstream audiences dedicate a substantial amount of time to gameplay - not just in 15-minute increments as previously thought."
Further insight into gaming habits reveals that 73 per cent play at night, rather than "quick break" sessions during the working day. 55 per cent play at weekends and 48 per cent play when they have the house to themselves.
In terms of the demographic for casual games, Macrovision reveals that the market is dominated by women, with a 71 per cent female audience. 37 per cent are aged 35-49, and 28 per cent are aged 50-60, with almost 60 per cent confirming that they have no children under 18 years of age living at home.
Providing insight for advertisers and marketers, the survey revealed that the most popular genre is puzzle games (67 per cent), followed by card games (44 per cent), strategy (35 per cent) and action (34 per cent).
When not indulging in a mammoth casual games session, participants revealed their favourite hobbies were: pets, travel, arts and crafts, shopping and gardening - something advertising agencies and publishers alike may wish to take note of.
âWhether advertisers are reaching out to casual or core audiences, we want them, through the results of our survey, to realize who gamers are, how they operate and what they like," added Hillberg.
"The survey findings will certainly help them to adjust their advertising strategies accordingly to ensure maximum penetration to the appropriate audiences."
The survey also revealed a positive reception to the try-before-you-buy model, 30 per cent confirming more than 21 game downloads in the past year and an astonishing 70 per cent stating that they have purchased a game after playing it free of charge on the Internet.