Yes, Your Mom Is Playing FarmVille

A new study by PopCap Social Gaming Research, creators of Bejeweled, confirms that mothers are the primary players of social games. As we wrote in the past, middle-aged women are the core demographic of social gamers, and this survey confirms that 55% of gamers are women, aged 43 on average. However, there are some interesting facts about other games that social gamers enjoy, how often they log on and where they go for their games in the data.

The survey found that 24% of Internet users in the US and the UK play social games at least once a week. Within this 24%, only 6% are below the age of 21 – most are between the age of 30 and 49. And fitting within this demographic, 41% of gamers are also employed full time. While many in the mainstream might still view gamers are young kids in their parents’ basements, students (high school, college undergrad, or graduate) only make up a tiny 6% of all social gamers surveyed.

Interestingly, two-thirds of those surveyed also played other games, either casual or hardcore in nature, on consoles, mobile phones, computer, or handheld device. This means that there is a significant portion of middle-aged gamers who also play non-social games, a trend that is possibly influenced by their enjoyment of the lower-barrier social games. And of this group that enjoys multiple genres of games, social games are number one in terms how much time is spent playing, with 39% for social games and just 30% and 31% for casual and hardcore games respectively.

95% of social gamers log on to play at least two to three times a week, and 64% log on one or more times per day. Respondents to the survey listed widely varied lengths of time for each of their gaming sessions. 23% of those surveyed said they play for about 16 to 30 minutes at a time, 27% reported playing 31 to 60 minutes at a time, and 22% said that they spent one to two hours playing games in a single session.

Social gamers are flocking to Facebook to get in their gaming sessions, with 83% overall preferring Facebook. Coming in a distant second is MySpace with 24% of gamers using it to play gamers. And just under half of the time these gamers log in to Facebook -49% – it is with the specific intention of playing games.

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