Are you one of the 118.5 million people who play social games weekly?

A new survey by PopCap Games, maker of Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, finds that the popularity of social games in the UK and US has rocketed in the last 18 months.

The survey found that 118.5 million people now play social games at least once a week, up 71%. Among other results in the survey, players are now significantly more likely to spend real world money to buy content within social games, with 31 million players having purchased in-game currency, up 86%.

30%, or 35 million people, who now play social games are new to the category since Feb 2010, and that 17% percent of people who play social games regularly are new to gaming altogether, having never previously played a video game, representing 20 million new gaming consumers. And while the average age of social gamers has gone down from 43 to 39, the average first time new social gamer is a 50+ year old woman.

The report also uncovered regional differences in attitudes about cheating in social games, finding UK social gamers (11%) cheat at a higher rate than US gamers (7%). Deeper insight into social gamers’ attitudes and habits surrounding cheating will be provided in a separate upcoming report.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • 81 million people, or 68% of social gamers, play social games at least once a day
  • 49 million people, or 41% of social gamers, play social games multiple times a day
  • 33% of social gamers who played games on other platforms prior to playing social games reported spending less time playing games on other platforms
  • Female social gamers outnumber men 55% to 45%
  • The percentage of social gamers under 30 years old jumped from 19% to 30%
  • 20% of all social gamers in the US are over 60, compared to only 7% in the UK
  • Social gaming is a newer phenomenon in the UK, where only 38% of social gamers have played for two years or more, versus 51% in the US.
All this increasing popularity of the social game sector is anticipated to generate $5 billion by 2015 according to market research firm Parks and Associates.

Author: Martyn Newton

Overlord of PopBucket and a gamer from a very young age with earliest memories including Theme Park, Detroit (look it up), Sim City, Championship Manager 2, The Lion King and Command & Conquer.

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