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Today's Gamers MMO Focus Report

Brits spent £195 million on MMO games in 2009, survey reckons.

London, 9th March 2010 – Analysis of the consumer data coming from the Today’s Gamers MMO Focus Report by and TNS reveals that 1.5 million Brits spend an average of £10.50 per month on Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. More than 90% of this budget is spent directly online. 2.5 million Brits play these games without spending any money. Revenues in Britain are slightly higher than in France and Germany but way behind the staggering amount of £2.55 billion spent in the US. The largest growth is expected to come from countries such as Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Poland and Sweden, and these countries are the subject of the new MMO Emerging Markets Survey.

‘Free to play’ versus ‘Pay to play’

The majority of the British MMO players do not ‘pay to play’ but still a significant share of 38% does. It shows that MMO games are being accepted as a type of game worth paying for. Of the hundreds of MMO games in the market, only a few require payment up-front, mainly by selling software to be installed on the PC. Brits spent approximately £25M on this, split up into boxed products and online downloads. £95M is spent on monthly or annual subscriptions. Many free-to-play MMOs rely on selling in-game virtual items using direct micro-transactions or a virtual currency approach, grossing another £75M in revenues.

World of Warcraft versus ‘the long tail’

Looking at number of players, World of Warcraft and Runescape clearly lead the pack with approximately 750,000 Brits admitting to have played. This includes people only making use of the free trial. These two major players are followed by the kids MMO Club Penguin, Final Fantasy and Lord of The Rings Online. No doubt World of Warcraft is grossing most revenues but the launch of hundreds of new MMOs over the last years has definitely attracted new players to the genre and other companies are also finding ways to get payers to pay.

Spenser Chi, responsible for the EU operations at Aeria Games & Entertainment, comments: “With every game launch, we find a new population of users without noticeable cannibalisation of our other titles. This is a sign to us that the MMO market will continue to grow in number of players as well as revenue.”

Today’s Gamers MMO Focus Report and the MMO Emerging Markets Survey

Online business models and game platforms are currently driving the growth and diversification of the games industry, and Today’s Gamers believe that the only way to understand the changes in this field is to ask the consumer. Three main drivers behind this approach are:

• Tracking retail sales covers only a shrinking part of the games revenues.

• The long tail of companies and games involved no longer allow extrapolation of revenues from a limited number of publishers.

• Total revenues are not enough to back-up business plans. Spending needs to be connected to numbers of players and their profile as well as cross-platform and spending insights.

The data in this press release comes from the Today’s Gamers International Survey held in US, UK, GER, FR, NL & BEL. All MMO-relevant data is comprised in the MMO Focus Report.

The full international MMO Focus Report and full dataset are available for €4,950. Launch partners of the MMO Emerging Markets Survey are offered a price of €1,500 per country with a minimum uptake of 5 countries. Contact or visit

For more information on the MMO Emerging Markets Survey, visit:

For more information on the MMO Focus, visit:

High resolution MMO Graphs are available for download from

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Note to editors

The MMO Focus Report is part of the 2009 Today’s Gamers International Survey (, a series of identical nation-wide surveys conducted by TNS and in the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the United States. Data for the 2009 edition was collected from a total of 13,000 respondents, selected to represent the nations demographic profile. The interviews were conducted online, therefore the results represent the population with internet access. Other topics in the survey include full breakdowns by demographic, general interest, buying intent, media consumption, local media channel preferences, motivation to play, payment methods, digital distribution, number of games played, game platform selection, most appreciated features, and betting/gambling participation.

Both the national and international comparative reports are currently available, as well as raw data for custom queries. A selection of the data is freely available and published on the global portal in the form of summary reports (English language) and thirteen individual graphs. For each individual country, these can be directly accessed via the website

Clients include: Travian Games, Nintendo of Europe, RealGames/Zylom, EA, WarnerBros, GlobalCollect, Spil Games, Gala Networks, MTV Networks, WildTangent and SFR.

Please state TNS/ as a source when distributing findings from this publication.

For further information and specific data requests:

Peter Warman


T: +31 (0)6 15855037



Caspar Hautvast

Research Consultant

T: +31 (0)20 522 5757


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