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Game Time!

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bedtime it’s All About Winning – Really!

“Mr. Allen, this may come as a surprise to you, but there are some men who don't end every sentence with a proposition.” – Jan, “Pillow Talk,” Universal Pictures, 1959

Awhile back, a friend’s kid proudly showed us the sheep he had bought for his farm on Zynga’s FarmVille game. Actually, he bought it with his dad’s money.

It made us wonder how many people buy stuff that only exists in pixels.

But he’s not alone because he’s living proof of why the virtual goods marketplaces are thriving in other forms of gaming.

As Jan said, “We're just going to have to live with each other.”

VGMarket research showed that median virtual goods payments grew more rapidly in all segments (massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), free-to-play games, console/PC games) with online play.

Virtual Sales

In fact, eMarketer estimates that US spending on virtual goods in social games will grow to $792 million this year, compared to $653 million in 2011. Total US virtual goods spending will reach $2.1 billion in 2011, from $1.1 billion in 2009. This includes transactions in social, casual, console and mobile games as well as social networks and applications.

Virtual Goods – It turns out, people are willing to pay real money for virtual goods, products, things that only exist in their game. Growth of virtual sales has slowed, but there’s still hope out there. Source – eMarketer

It’s amazing that 51 percent used real money to buy virtual currency, items or content in connected console games in the past year, while only 31% had done the same in social network games.

Fortunately, most are older than our friend’s kid (average age is 25.3) because it was an ugly sheep and hopefully as he gets older, his eye for what’s attractive will improve.

With all the fervor surrounds smartphones and mobile gaming, you’d swear all of the other gaming platforms and apps were disappearing; but that doesn’t seem to be the case. People are using all the platforms and they’re using them…everywhere.

Multiplatform – Men, women, young, old, every gamer has his or her favorite platform but is also willing to move from platform to platform. Younger players are more likely to use their smartphones and tablets to play games, but they still insist on cross-platform games. Source – Parks Associates

According to the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), 40 percent of the gamers are women, and the average age is 35.

Hope that isn’t why Brad Allen said,
“Well naturally, she doesn't get out of the house very often.”

Computer and video games (and consoles) are still very mainstream.

Some are probably like our family where the console serves a dual purpose – gaming and streaming video, TV shows and movies to the big screen.
ESA also found:
- 65% of American households play computer and video games
- 38% of American homes have a video game console
- One out of four gamers is over age 50
- Women age 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (33%) than boys age 17 or younger (18%)
- Video games to reach $68.3 bln by 2012
- Casual games generate $2.25 bln annually

Family Time

Like our friend who paid for the ugly sheep:
- 94% of parents are present when games are purchased or rented
- 88% of parents report always or sometimes monitoring the games their children play
- 63% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children's lives

But with smartphones now accounting for 50% of the mobile phone sales, everyone’s attention is clearly focused on mobile gaming.

Freemium Apps – Originally, mobile phone games were simple puzzles and minimalistic games; but with today’s smartphones and app stores, people are downloading and playing more robust action games on their devices. While the average price is only 99 cents, the game add-ons/add-ins produce good revenue for a few game developers. Source – eMarketer

According to eMarketer, 72.8 million folks (23.2 percent of the population) will play games on their mobile devices this year.

These numbers don’t include the bloatware that comes with your mobile phone.

Jan saw it and screamed,
“Would you please get off this line!”
The pre-loaded stuff may be good for getting your name in front of folks, but doesn’t offer little in the way of monetizing the game. And face it, the game creators produce the look, feel, effect they want, but they would also like consumers to buy/rent it too.


Sales Growth – Game developers are expecting continued strong growth in the sale of their apps and other products/services in the coming years. The challenge is to be visible in the crowded field and retain players. Source – Jupiter Research

And they do.

Nine games are paid for and downloaded, compared to one of everything else.

That’s a lot of action, sport games.

Puzzles are popular as well; but they seem to attract and retain the “older” audience – 35 – 55 plus.

BYOD Action

Of course, there is that new mobile device that everyone has to have to be more efficient, more effective in the office…the iPad.

Tablet Growth – While adults are finding the iPad/tablet to be a great productivity solution in their business activities, they also download their share of games to relax with; and for younger users, games and video share almost equal billing. Source – Interpret New Media Measure

Thank gawd for BYOD (bring your own device) because it allows people to do everything with the device they have at hand.

According to Juniper, the device face time breakdown is:
- 31 percent messaging
- 27 percent voice
- 12 percent browsing
- 8 percent social networking
- 8 percent PIM (personal information manager)
- 6 percent games
- 4 percent multimedia
- 4 percent utility
- 2 percent maps

The industry used to feel that mobile device games (played on smartphones, iPads) were only used as a means of killing time – you know waiting in line, on the bus/train, waiting for appointments.

But according to a mobile device survey by MocoSpace:
- 52 percent play more than an hour a day
- 32 percent play more than three hours
- 83 percent while waiting for an appointment
- 72 percent while commuting
- 64 percent while out with friends
- 64 percent at work
- 46 percent in class
- 25 percent at the gym
- 13 percent at a restaurant
- 96 percent at home

Ninety-six percent at home is a pretty high percentage, unless they’re waiting for the game console or the console is busy streaming a movie.

Jan had the solution at her place when she said, “Never mind my mind! You just stick to your half hour and I'll stick to mine!”

It turns out that’s the wrong assumption, according to MocoSpace that reported people said:
- 53 percent did it in bed
- 41 percent in the living/family room
- 5 percent in the bathroom
- 1 percent at the dining table

In bed?

Sleep Or…

Maybe that’s why Jan said, “I have no bedroom problems. There's nothing in my bedroom that bothers me.”

We read a study last year that 40 percent of the people responded said they would answer their phone while…you know.

The same study reported that 30 percent would respond to a text message.

But really, play video games?

If we caught our kid in bed with a partner and they said they were just playing video games and they were…we’d think it was time to talk to him about the birds ‘n bees!

Of course, his mother would be relieved and then march them out to the family room to play using the game console and big screen TV.


More Options, More Play – Whether it’s a game console, computer or mobile device, people are increasing the number of devices they use to play games with; and as most games are developed for a number of platforms, the multi-device usage will continue to rise. Source – Nielsen

Actually, with all of the options that are available today, people simply play on more and different devices, according to Nielsen.

Fifty-six percent of the homes have a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii; and the big uptick is in the mobile/tablet gaming space.

The real shift is in going online to find, buy, play new games, rather than hit the store to buy the package.

The retailers are just holding their breath for the next generation of game consoles.

Just remember, if you hear Jan say, “I'm yours tonight. My darling possess me,” do NOT think she wants to have you beat her at Angry Birds, FarmVille or any of the other 10 games you’ve got on your iPad!! Hits: 2035

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