Dubbed “Casual Gaming Market Update”, the Parks Associates report brings some pretty interesting figures. While both online video and social networking sites have been booming in the last years, their actual dominance is really not that high. It seems that only
29% of U.S. adult Internet users watch short online videos on a weekly basis. The figures go much lower in the case of social networking sites: only 19% visit them every week.
In the mean time, playing games online on a weekly basis proved to be a favorite activity for 34% of the subjects.
“Despite the growing popularity of YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook, gaming remains the king of online entertainment, driven largely by casual gaming activities. Gaming also has business advantages. Unlike sites for social networking and video streaming, which rely solely on advertising revenue, casual gaming has more mature and heterogeneous revenue models, including web-based and in-game advertising, try-before-you-buy, subscriptions, and micro-transactions.” (James Kuai, a research analyst at Parks Associates)
However, Kuai also issued a warning alongside the good results:
“The casual gaming industry cannot rest on its laurels. In order to counter the growing competition from other online activities, the industry needs to continue to grow its fan base and find ways to better monetize its existing audience.”
The report shows that the year-over-year growth rate for frequent online gamers was 79%, much below the growth rate for frequent users of video streaming sites (123%). On the other hand, social networking sites don’t seem to pose a real threat, as their growth rate is only 46%.