118.5m people play social games every week

14 Nov 2011

There has been a 71pc increase in the number of people playing social games each week, with 118.5m people now playing social games at least once a week, according to a new study commissioned by PopCap Games.

Players are now significantly more likely to spend real-world money to buy content within social games, with 31m players having purchased in-game currency, up 86pc. 

The full report, conducted by Information Solutions Group, is available for download at 2011 PopCap Social Gaming Research.

The social game sector is anticipated to generate US$5bn by 2015, according to market research firm Parks and Associates.

The PopCap survey found that 30pc, or 35m people, who now play social games are new to the category since February 2010, and that 17pc of people who play social games regularly are new to gaming altogether, having never previously played a video game, representing 20m new gaming consumers.

The average new social gamer is a 50+ year-old woman

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 UK social gamers (11pc) cheat at a higher rate than US gamers (7pc).

Deeper insight into social gamers’ attitudes and habits surrounding cheating will be provided in a separate upcoming report.

Other findings reveal:

  • 33pc 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 55pc to 45pc
  • The percentage of social gamers less than 30 years of age jumped from 19pc to 30pc
  • 20pc of all social gamers in the US are more than 60 years old, compared to only 7pc in the UK
  • Social gaming is a newer phenomenon in the UK, where only 38pc of social gamers have played for two years or more, versus 51pc in the US.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years