Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011, Is Here

If 2010 is remembered as the year that games on social networks became a billion dollar business, 2011 is quickly becoming the year that the industry is starting to mature. Facebook is mandating Credits effective July 1st, creating massive changes in the monetization ecosystem, last year’s hit games are fighting for their lives, and new developers and games are climbing the leaderboards. At the same time, larger players are consolidating smaller studios and teams, and large media companies and traditional game developers continue to plot their social gaming strategies.

If 2010 is remembered as the year that games on social networks became a billion dollar business, 2011 is quickly becoming the year that the industry is starting to mature. Facebook is mandating Credits effective July 1st, creating massive changes in the monetization ecosystem, last year’s hit games are fighting for their lives, and new developers and games are climbing the leaderboards. At the same time, larger players are consolidating smaller studios and teams, and large media companies and traditional game developers continue to plot their social gaming strategies.

That’s why we’re excited to announce today the release of a new original study in our Inside Virtual Goods series by co-authors Justin Smith and Charles Hudson that is exclusively focused on spending and usage patterns in the social gaming market, entitled Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011. The second annual installment of this report.

Most of the studies on player spending and usage patterns in social games over the last year have actually been conducted by industry vendors. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is our exclusive independent look at the virtual goods spending and behavior patterns of social game players on Facebook — data you won’t find anywhere else.

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About the Report

Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 gives you an inside view of the market at this critical juncture in the intersection of social networking and online games.

We have surveyed nearly 2,000 players of social games on Facebook from around the world and across the demographic spectrum. Inside Virtual Goods: Spending and Usage Patterns of the Social Gaming Audience 2011 is the most in-depth independent survey of player behavior and spending patterns in the social gaming market.

What We Cover

  1. Spending Habits and Payment Methods in Top Games – It’s easy to compare games based on audience numbers, but which games monetize better? What payment methods do players use most often in top games? How is the shift to Credits affecting player behavior? We investigate how spending patterns compare across top social games.
  2. Frequency of Play and Methods of Game Discovery – As Facebook has cut down on developer access to viral channels, designing an engaging and viral game is becoming both increasingly important and challenging. We investigate which games people play most frequently, and which methods of social game discovery are most effective for top games.
  3. Demographic Differences by Region, Age, and Gender – While the social gaming market is increasingly global, the audience is also becoming increasingly diverse by age and gender. How do different segments of the audience differ in terms of spending and usage patterns inside social games? We take an in depth look.
  4. Brand Recall for Social Games – How important are brands, and how well can users identify developers of top games? We investigate brand recall amongst social game players.

See the full table of contents below:

Table of Contents

I. Methodology and Respondents

1. Introduction
  • About Inside Virtual Goods
  • About the Authors
  • Survey Objectives
2. Research Methodology
  • Target Population
  • Respondent Acquisition Method
  • Survey Structure
  • Potential for Bias
3. Survey Respondents
  • Description of Total Respondent Population
  • Total Number of Respondents
  • Overall Breakdown

II. Overall Results

4. Favorite Game
  • Distribution of Favorite Game
  • Frequency of Play
  • Favorite Game Discovery
  • With Whom Do You Play?
  • Spending on Favorite Game
5. Payments
  • Frequency of Payment Methods
  • Consumer Perception of Facebook Credits
6. Play Patterns, Spending, and Brand Recall for Top Games
  • Frequency of Play in Top Games
  • Spending in Top Games
  • Aided Brand Recall for Top Games

7. Mobile Platform and Game Adoption by Social Game Players

  • Smart Device Ownership
  • Mobile Games Played by Active Social Games Players
  • In-Game Mobile Purchase Activity by Active Social Gamers

III. Demographic Differences in Usage Patterns and Monetization