Social gaming outpacing consoles

Games console spend fell significantly in 2010 as social gaming rose to the fore, according to a study.

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Overall total spend on UK games was down 3% with consumers spending 25% less on console games than last year.

Brands are increasingly using social gaming to advertise their products and services signalling a possible future move away from the traditional console games market.

The Total Consumer Spend 2010 study published by games industry market research specialist Newzoo reported a 27% global upsurge in massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and 66% increase in games played on social networks.

Other key European markets showed even larger growth in online gaming models, with total online spend up 33% in Germany and 13% in France.

Managing director of Newzoo BV Peter Warman says: “Mobile and social gaming as well as massively multiplayer online games are enjoying mass-appeal and taking major chunks out of ’total gamers’ wallet’.”

According to Warman, gamers are now “spreading their budget across more platforms”.

The report suggests gaming is becoming progressively more social as consumers prefer to use free-to-play games more readily available on social networks such as Facebook and Bebo rather than spending on consoles, although this often leads to pay-to-play commitments.

This month, social game maker Zynga, famous for Facebook games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, released CityVille, the fastest-growing game in history, reaching 26 million players in just 12 days.

Look out for the trends feature on social gaming in Marketing Week’s first issue of 2011, cover-dated 6 January.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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