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09/02/2011

Social Gaming

Social games have become a mighty buzz word; Startups are raising money, indies are doing social games and Zynga is monetizing like hell. So are we on a verge of a new bubble? or is this a new emerging industry that is destined to establish its presence for a long while?

good questions. Hard to answer. Mostly because we are part of this movement and judgung such phenomena can only be done retrospectively. Still, worth while examining some usage patterns among social gamers in order to understand if we are looking at a new skin for "casual gaming" or a new typology of gaming.

What is it?
Social games are An interpolation of casual games; they are a mix of casual and midcore games served over a social network . Progress in the game is dependent  on cooperation with one's friend's. In fact, playing the game in single player mode is a tedious task; content unlocks slowly, XP is hardly gained and most assets can not be triggered alone.


Usage Pattern
Many of these game focus on a Time Management Game Mechanism, meaning players need to return and play the game in given time cycles (e.g. - return in 5 hours to harvest your plowed potatoes). This dynamic generates a repetitive gameplay as well as usage pattern, exhibiting short session (5-10 minutes) occurring several (2-4 in average) times a day

  • 58% of social game players in the UK are women, as are 54% in the US.
  • There are two big major categories of social game players: single people with no children (28%) and married people with children living at home (28%).
  • Social game players’ average age in the UK is 42, which is far younger than the 46 year old average in the US.
  • 46% of Americans are 50 or older. Only 15% of Americans are under the age of 30.
  • Housewives are commonly thought to be the main target of casual and social game, but the numbers show that only 11% of the respondents are homemakers and 41% work full time.
 

  •  The majority (41%) of those playing social games work full-time, followed by 13% who are retired and 11% who are homemakers. 9% work part-time and another 9% are not currently working. Its is a known fact that many social games are being played during work hours, thanks to their short-session game structure



  • The majority (95%) of those surveyed play social games multiple times a week with
  • 34% playing several times a day, 30% playing once a day and 31% playing 2 to 3 times a week.
  • The session length of social gamers varies widely with 23% playing 16 to 30 minutes at a time, 27% playing for 31 to 60 minutes and another 22% playing for 1 to 2 hours



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