1. Gaming Surpasses Video, Social Nets In Online Popularity: Study
by Tameka Kee
Over a third (34%) of U.S. adult Internet users play online games weekly, according to Parks Associates, with games trumping social networking and online video as the most popular Web-based entertainment activity.
Online video came in as the second most popular activity, with some 29% of users watching short clips weekly, while social networking rounded out the top three at 19%. The market research company, compiling data from two studies for its new Casual Gaming Market Update, surveyed nearly 2,000 Web users over age 18.
“Despite the growing popularity of YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook, gaming remains the king of online entertainment, driven largely by casual gaming activities,” said James Kuai, research analyst, Parks Associates.
Casual games–loosely defined as easy-to-play online games targeted at a mass audience–typically have low production and distribution costs. Parks forecasts that the industry will rake in $400-$500 million this year, with a significant portion of the revenue coming from advertising.
Sites like Yahoo Games and EA’s Pogo.com offer users access to a wealth of ad-supported games, where sponsors have options for branding opportunities, and display and banner ad placements. Some casual game sites offer low cost, ad-free gaming subscriptions and outright purchases, as new revenue models like micro-payments gain traction.
With advertisers courting social networkers and shifting more of their interactive budgets to online video, the report cautions them against overlooking games as part of the media mix.
“Casual games don’t generate as much attention as social networking or video sharing, partly because many advertisers still don’t understand gaming as a medium,” said Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming, Parks Associates.
Those advertisers that do understand gaming have found a myriad of ways to get their messages across–from dynamic in-game ads, to tournament sponsorships, to re-purposing casual games as branded advergames.
Meanwhile, industry giants like WPP and Viacom have either made major investments in game development companies (like Wild Tangent) or have built out their own casual game properties. The Parks study also found that frequent use of casual games grew 79% year-over-year, compared to social networking’s 46%. But the growth rate for frequent use of streaming video soared 123%, a stat that could represent a future swing in that direction as broadband video becomes more accessible, according to Kuai, who issued a call to action: “In order to counter the growing competition from other online activities, the [casual gaming] industry needs to continue to grow its fan base and find ways to better monetize its existing audience.”
Hi gang, missed this one, sorry about that. The claim here is that online gaming has more users than social networking or video. Dr. Media says, hmmmm. I think I want to see the study that confirms this research since I have seen others which make social networking, and video the growth areas. . Perhaps the key word his is what constitutes on line entertainment, and usage. IF entertainment is the key phrase then perhaps this study is correct, however, if usage is the key variable, then I think the report would favor social media and video. BUT, there is no question that the online gaming industry is booming,just look at MTV’s 500m investment.However, as even this study states , the use of video grew a whopping 123% over the last year and that where the ad bucks are going and fast.