According to a new Business Insights report called The Future of Social Gaming:

  • As of 2010, there were almost 600 million social gamers
  • China made the greatest contribution to total player numbers in 2010, with 109  million players
  • The US was second in total players in 2010, with 95 million
  • By 2015, they expect the number of players in China to reach 273 million
  • By 2015, they expect the number of players in the U.S. to reach 150 million
  • The global social gaming market was worth just under $1.5 billion in 2010, and is forecast to reach almost $4 billion in 2015
  • The most important market is the US, with revenues of $670 milion expected to grow to $1.2 billion in 2015
  • Japan is in second place, with a $180 million market that is forecast to reach $570 million in 2015
  • The Big Four leading games developers – Zynga, EA, CrowdStar and Playdom
  • Zynga is far larger than its competitors, with 195 million active users across its titles, compared to second-placed EA’s 39 million active users

Lightspeed Research put out new data on social games. Here are some of the findings:

  • 58% of the social network users surveyed had played a social game, with 68% starting to play in the last year and 12% in the last month.
  • Of social gamers, 17% considered themselves ‘addicted’ to social games
  • 59% of social networkers have up to 10 friends playing the same social games as them
  • 11% have also invited strangers to play games with them
  • 36% of the total respondents cited being invited by a friend as the reason they started playing social games
  • 16% started playing social games by reading a friend’s newsfeed
  • 18% started playing social games by reading a friend’s recommendation
  • 29% play social games daily
  • 67% play one to two different social games at least once per week
  • 10% play five or more different social games at least once per week
  • 24% play several times per day
  • 67% play for up to an hour per day
  • 24% play up to two hours
  • 10% play for two hours or more
  • People aged 55-64 play more frequently than 18-34 year olds
  • 68% play social games for fun
  • 26% play to compete with friends
  • 20% play to relieve stress
  • Men are more likely to play to compete with friends (28% vs. 23% of women)
  • Women are more likely to play for fun (71% vs. 66% of men)
  • Men are also more likely to say they play to connect with others (17% vs. 9% of women)
  • 17% of social game players have played on their mobile
  • 23% for 18-34 year olds have played on their mobile

Monetising social games

  • Many social gamers are motivated to interact with brands to get rewards for their games
  • 34% have responded to some kind of marketing activity to get game rewards
  • 18% have clicked on an advertisement or offer to get rewards
  • 14% have signed up to a newsletter or a new game
  • 10% have signed up for a free offer
  • 3% have signed up for a new credit card for game rewards

According to an article in BusinessWeek, the mobile app market is currently a $1 billion per year market. Analysts estimate the market will grow to $4 Billion per year by 2012. That’s a CAGR of 100%.

  • The article also talks about social games, stating:
  • U.S. revenues from social games to $720 million
  • Analysts project that U.S. revenues from social games will grow to $2 billion by 2012.

ClickZ recently posted an article talking about CafeMom, and exploring some of the reasons women play games. Here’s the data:

  • More than 50% of moms in the U.S. play games online regularly
  • U.S. moms play games usually to relieve stress and relax
  • According to eMarketer, more than 27 million women between 25 and 64 in the U.S. visited an online gaming site in a single month last year

Nielsen released its Insight on Casual Games – Analysis of Casual Games for the PC, which tracked 847 PC casual game titles.

  • Of 847 the titles tracked, they were played by over 43 million unique people
  • On average, players played around 30 minutes a day
  • Casual games account for 75% of the total number of minutes of PC video game play across all video game titles
  • Casual gamers have the vast majority of play minutes and a very high frequency of play
  • 58% of casual gamers are female
  • 88% of casual game players play card games and puzzle games
  • Casual games have a high recurring game play rate
  • Casual game play sessions last an average of 31 minutes
  • Non-casual game play sessions are more than double, at 80 minutes
  • World of Warcraft game play sessions last on average 120 minutes

Download the full report from Nielsen here.

There’s an excellent article on the economics of Flash games on the Lost Garden blog. Here’s some of the key market data:

  • There are over 14,000 games spread across 30,000 portals
  • There are hundreds of new games coming out every month
  • The size of the market is 359 Million players

The post talks a lot about the economics of making Flash games and what developers need to be doing to actually make money and survive. The ad-supported model for Flash titles is obviously broken given the metrics presented.

comScore released an analysis of Americans’ usage of online gaming sites as the economy sours which showed that the category has grown:

  • 27 percent during the past year
  • American online gaming sites had 86 million visitors in December 2008
  • Total time spent playing online games jumped 42 percent
  • Americans’ total share of Internet time spent playing online games grew from 3.7 percent in December 2007 to 4.9 percent in December 2008
  • Yahoo! Games ranked as the most visited site in the category with 19.5 million visitors (up 20 percent) 
  • EA Online haad 15.4 million visitors (up 21 percent)
  • Disney Games had 13.4 million visitors (up 13 percent)

Top Online Gaming Sites

December 2008 vs. December 2007

Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix


   Total Unique Visitors (000)

 Dec-2007 Dec-


% Change

Total Internet : Total Audience




Online Gaming




Yahoo! Games




EA Online




Disney Games




WildTangent Network







AOL Games




MSN Games






19 Games




Spil Games