Games Beat Video Online

NEW YORK When it comes to popular online entertainment, playing games squashes watching videos. At least according to a new report issued by research firm Parks Associates.

More than one third, or 34 percent of users in the U.S. play games on the Internet at least once per week. That number bests the two most hyped online activities of the past few years, as 29 percent of users watch videos on a weekly basis and just 19 percent visit social networking sites that often, found Parks.

Online gaming has soared in popularity over the last year, growing by 79 percent, according to the report, “Casual Gaming Market Update.” But, while it lags behind gaming at the moment, Parks found that the number of users who report watching video at least once a week shot up by almost 130 percent over the same period, indicating that video is set to challenge gaming as a favorite Web diversion.

“Despite the growing popularity of YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, gaming remains the king of online entertainment, driven largely by casual gaming activities,” said Parks analyst James Kuai.

However, according to much of the research being circulated in the media world, online video would seem to already have a strong claim to the throne in the Web entertainment realm. In fact, according to comScore Media Metrix, nearly three-quarters, or 74 percent of Web users (132 million Americans), watched an average of 158 minutes worth of videos during the month of May. The average user viewed watched more than two video clips per day, said comScore.