Report: Social Games Claim 71-Percent More Players Than They Did Last Year

November 15, 2011

Last week we reported that mobile games will take the lion’s share of the North American handheld market this year. Well, looks like another trend that’s just blowing up right now is the social games market. Well, the genre has been widely adopted since its inception due to its accessibility, but the 2011 PopCap Social Gaming Research survey found some interesting results nonetheless.

Gamasutra reports that about 118.5 million people play social games at least once per week in the U.K. and U.S., a 71-percent increase over last year. Not only that, but at least 81 million folks play these types of games — think Farmville, Mafia Wars and the like — at least once a day.

The study, commissioned by PopCap, creators of Plants Vs. Zombies and Bejeweled, also found 31 million social gamers have spent real cash on in-game items, an 86-percent increase over last year.

The study, found here, also holds some other interesting findings:

-The age of the average social gamer is 39, whereas it sat at 43 last year. That’s because more folks in the 18-29 age group have been playing.
-Women are more likely to play social games than men. Female gamers account for 55 percent of users in both the U.K. and U.S.
-Social games are most often played on desktop computers. Overall, 71 percent respondents say they played social games on a desktop compared to 50 percent on laptops.
-Social gamers rarely play for more than two hours at a time, with 5 percent of U.S. respondents claiming they play five hours or longer per session. The percentage of respondents who made the same claim in the U.K. was 4. My 3DS says my latest Super Mario 3D Land session lasted 2.5 hours, for comparison.

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Take a gander at the entire survey and tell us how your gaming habits compare to the average social gamer. The only social game I’ve ever tried was Back to the Future: Blitz Through Time and I only played for about 10 minutes. My usual gaming session lasts about two or three hours when it’s on a console, sometimes it’s as little as two or three minutes at a time on my 3DS. My portable sessions usually consist of maybe a level or two in Super Mario Bros. when I get sick of writing. Hm. I think I might need to boot up the ol’ 3DS now that I think about it.

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Eder Campuzano

Eder is a journalism major at the University of Oregon and copy chief of Flux, the School of Journalism and Communication's flagship magazine. When he's not playing video games or writing about them, Eder enjoys going to concerts, walking the UO campus with his trusty iPod, James McCloud, and climbing steep hills in running shoes. His favorite games include Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong Country 2, Bioshock and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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