opinion

Online Games Today!

Joe D

A 2011 study of the online gaming market has revealed that more than 50% of all consumers have now spent money on online or mobile games throughout Europe and the US. The data for this analysis comes from GlobalCollect, an online payment processing company based in the Netherlands, and Newzoo, an international research firm. 

The study separates the online games industry into two separate and distinct markets - an emerging market which is comprised of Russia, Mexico and Brazil, as well as the well-established Western market which includes the US, UK and several EU countries. The emerging markets throughout Russia and Brazil are relatively low due to a limited Internet penetration in these areas, however with only 46 million online users in Russia and Brazil as many as 75% of those consumers play games online. In fact, studies show that Internet-users in these countries spend more time playing games than they do watching television - as much as 11 hours per week!

Despite their low overall numbers, 53% of Russian gamers and 47% of Brazilian gamers who play games online have spent money to play. Over two-thirds of those who pay to play spent money on add-ons for mobile and online games that are free to play. While these figures may not sound impressive, it is important to note that GlobalCollect has noticed a 103% increase in the last year of gamers who pay to play in Russia and an astounding 228% increase in Brazil since 2010. The increase has been determined to be as a result of the use of local payment options, such as WebMoney in Russia and Boletos Bancario in Brazil.

A study that was conducted in 2011 by National Gamers Surveys also revealed that growth is being seen in all three of these emerging markets.  Approximately 16 million are actively playing online or mobile games in Mexico, 35 million are active players in Brazil and another 38 million are active in Russia.  These figures are expected to grow as Internet penetration increases and knowledge of local payment options becomes more well-known and trusted in these markets.

Western markets are more established in the online and mobile gaming verticals, and there are as many as 145 million active players in the US. However, only 43% of 63 million of those players actively pay to play or purchase add-ons for free to play games. The percentages are much higher in other countries, helping to create the over 50% average in the Western market, with Germany boasting 36 million active players and 66% or 24 million of those players actively paying to play those games. 52% of the 31 million players throughout the UK, or 16 million, are actively paying to play online or mobile games.

We can learn much from observing the spending and playing habits of consumers in the Western markets and apply those statistics to the emerging markets to determine how some of the growth in those countries will evolve. The study also reveals that major changes have occurred in recent months with regard to the amount of time that consumers in Europe are spending playing games. These figures have caught up to the usage seen in the US, where spending for online, mobile and downloaded games now represents as much as 50% of the consumers' spending for online game playing. MMO games make up approximately 10% of their total monthly budget spending with as much as 80% representing spending on virtual currency. As many as 15% of Western consumers have now purchased Facebook credits to use for online games purposes, and this figure is expected to grow dramatically.

You’ve got the traffic, and everyone is playing games online - are you motivated to start working with some game developers yet?

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