Social gamers in US are expected to grow by 29.5 percent i.e. from 53 million in 2010 to 68.7 million in 2012, according to eMarketers. This growth will eventually result in 29 percent of the Internet population in the US playing social games by 2012. eMarketers estimates that the growth pattern of the social gaming industry will remain in place for at least next two years.
eMarketer has made an extensive effort to outline why Inside Social Games (ISG) report citing a decrease in interest in Social Gaming might not be accurately representing the state of the industry.Inside Social Games reported that the cumulative monthly active users among the top 15 games on Facebook have dropped recently. ISG’s result shows month-to-month drops from September to December 2010, as well as an annual decrease from December 2009 to December 2009.
eMarketer collects data from a variety of sources such as Trendstream/Lightspeed Research, BlogHer/iVillage, Newzoo BV, Ipsos OTX MediaCT, ThinkEquity, TrustE, NPD Group, as compared to Inside Social Games which only collects data of global active users on a game-specific basis per month without even considering the overlap among games. In addition to this, the estimation figures of eMarketers are more conservative.
According to eMarketer estimates, the downward trend index was limited to only the top games on Facebook, accounting for three-fourth of the social gaming traffic. Further, It won’t be wrong to assume that the drops starting in September might have been a direct effect of changes in Facebook’s notification policies. Facebook started limiting game notifications to users who already played games. Previously, all users received notification of their friends’ social gaming activities, resulting in viral spread of the games.
Keeping above cautions in mind, eMarketer has concluded that the Social Games data is not a sign of decreasing interest. Nevertheless, even eMarketers estimations show growth in social gaming at a slower pace than what has been seen in the past two years.