The third screen?
It’s no secret that time spent online is a major rival to traditional media usage. But among some segments of the population, at least, time spent gaming is in the same ballpark as time watching TV or surfing the Web.
According to the “Today’s Gamers” report from TNS and Newzoo BV, US male Internet users spend 10 hours weekly with the medium, compared with 10.7 hours with TV and 10.8 hours with the Internet. Usage varies with age, with boys ages 8 to 12 gaming for 13 hours per week on average—significantly more time than they spend with TV or the Web. But even older Internet users, ages 50 and up, spend an average of 4.5 hours per week on games.
The report reinforces data that shows women are nearly as likely to play games as men, at 80% versus 87% in the US. The genders show different platform preferences, however, with females preferring game portals while males look to consoles.
Much of this gaming, especially on game portals, is casual—and free. Just 30% of players spend money at game portals, and less than two-thirds pay for mobile games. Console players, however, are much more likely to open their wallets, with only 21% saying they never purchase games.
With 83% of the US population playing games, and many spending nearly as much time gaming as they do in front of the TV or Web browser, gamers are a major audience for marketers. The rise of mobile gaming and casual gaming on portals and social networks opens up possibilities for ad support for the many users unwilling to pay.
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Check out today’s other article, “Gen Y Holds Tight to E-Mail and Texting.”