PopCap Survey Finds Huge Social Games Growth

PopCap Games, maker of some of the world’s most popular video games, today unveiled the results of a survey updating a 2010 report targeting social gamers in the U.S. and U.K. The survey found that 118.5 million people now play social games at least once a week, up 71%. Among other results in the new survey, players are now significantly more likely to spend real-world money to buy content within social games, with 31 million players having purchased in-game currency, up 86 percent.

The full report, conducted by Information Solutions Group is available for download at http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/pdfs/2011_PopCap_Social_Gaming_Research_Results.pdf

The report examines play habits, attitudes and regional/demographic differences among social gamers, who represent the fastest-growing segment of the video game industry. The social game sector is anticipated to generate $5 billion by 2015 according to market research firm Parks and Associates.

The survey found that 30 percent, or 35 million people who now play social games are new to the category since February 2010, and that 17% percent of people who play social games regularly are new to gaming altogether, having never previously played a video game, representing 20 million new gaming consumers. And while the average age of social gamers has gone down from 43 to 39, the average first time new social gamer is a 50+ year-old woman.

The report also uncovered regional differences in attitudes about cheating in social games, finding U.K. social gamers (11%) cheat at a higher rate than U.S. gamers (7%). Deeper insight into social gamers’ attitudes and habits surrounding cheating will be provided in a separate upcoming report.

Other key findings in the report include:

81 million people, or 68% of social gamers, play social games at least once a day

49 million people, or 41% of social gamers, play social games multiple times a day

33% of social gamers who played games on other platforms prior to playing social games reported spending less time playing games on other platforms

Female social gamers outnumber men 55% to 45%

The percentage of social gamers under 30 years old jumped from 19% to 30%

20% of all social gamers in the US are over 60, compared to only 7% in the U.K.

Social gaming is a newer phenomenon in the U.K., where only 38% of social gamers have played for two years or more, versus 51% in the U.S.

Survey Methodology

Information Solutions Group conducted this research exclusively for PopCap Games. The results are based on 1,201 online surveys completed by members of Toluna’s Internet ePanel in the United States and United Kingdom between September 15 and September 22, 2011. Of the 1,201 respondents, 801 (67%) are from the U.S., while 400 (33%) are from the U.K. To qualify for participation, individuals must play social games for more than 15 minutes a week. This social game playing audience consisted of 536 men and 665 women. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results will differ by no more than 2.5 percentage points from what would have been obtained by seeking out and polling all U.S. and U.K. Internet users age 18 and over. Smaller subgroups reflect larger margins of sampling error. Other sources of error, such as variations in the order of questions or the wording within the questionnaire, may also contribute to different results.

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