Online gaming is more popular in the US than visiting video sharing and social networking sites, according to a new report by Park Associates.
While developers and publishers look to sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace as inspiration for community features in upcoming games, research shows that 34 per cent of US internet users play games online on a weekly basis, compared to 29 per cent who visit online video sites and 19 per cent interested in social networking.
"Despite the growing popularity of YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook, gaming remains the king of online entertainment, driven largely by casual gaming activities," commented James Kuai, analyst at Park Associates.
"Gaming also has business advantages. Unlike sites for social networking and video streaming, which rely solely on advertising revenue, casual gaming has more mature and heterogeneous revenue models, including web-based and in-game advertising, try-before-you-buy, subscriptions, and micro-transactions," detailed Kuai.
Year-on-year growth rates show that gaming has seen a 79 per cent rise in frequent online players, compared to 46 per cent using social networking sites.
But the biggest growth rate is for users of video sharing sites such as YouTube, which leapt by 123 per cent, according to Park Associates.
"The casual gaming industry cannot rest on its laurels," said Kuai.
"In order to counter the growing competition from other online activities, the industry needs to continue to grow its fan base and find ways to better monetize its existing audience."