Only 15% of gamers pay for online games
Video games continue to attract a significant chunk of money in the US. According to the NPD Group, a total of $24.75 billion was spent on the games industry by US consumers in 2011, with a majority of content expenditures still going to traditional video games. But a June 2012 report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) indicates the money being spent on games is slowly but surely migrating from console games to non-traditional formats.
Overall, US sales revenues for video games saw slight growth between 2009 and 2011, climbing from $16 billion to $16.6 billion. But revenues for computer and console games shrank from $10.6 billion to $9.3 billion over the same period, with those losses made up for by games delivered via mobile apps, social networks, downloads and other channels. Gamers playing on the more traditional platforms of consoles and PCs are now being displaced by mobile and social media players.
This trend was also reflected in the unit sales for console and computer games, which declined to 245.6 million last year, from 278.7 million two years earlier.
But while the growth of mobile and social games is apparent, it’s not yet clear that these channels have been fully monetized. Games appear to be suffering from the user expectation that many consumers have about the internet—that content is always free. The ESA found that only 15% of gamers said they paid to play online games.
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