The online gaming (OLG) market is poised for explosive growth, according to researchers, ready to experience a nearly four-fold revenue revenue increase by 2008. In-Stat/MDR predicts that the total OLG market will grow from just over a billion in 2003 to nearly $4 billion by the end of 2008.
The revenue growth will be fueled by advertising and the millions of new players that are expected by 2008. In-Stat/MDR indicates that roughly half of the U.S. population will participate in online games by 2008, with the massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) population peaking by 2005.
The NPD Group took a look at the players, and found that two-thirds of the surveyed 13 to 44-year-olds are using their PC or Mac instead of consoles. The study found that online gamers spent more time playing PC games online than offline (60 percent compared to 40 percent), while the opposite was true for connected console gamers.
The NPD Group found that the genders are nearly evenly balanced, with males accounting for a slightly larger portion (53 percent). May 2004 measurements from Nielsen//NetRatings supported the parity, finding that males accounted for 51 percent of the 46 million online gamers.
Other research illustrates the popularity of online games among adult women: AOL found that women over 40 were among the most avid gamers and Nielsen//NetRatings reported that 35 to 49-year-old women spent the most time online at gaming sites in May 2004.
|Demographics of Online Game Sites
Visitors, May 2004 (U.S., Home and Work)
|2 to 11||3.7%||3.5%|
|12 to 17||9%||5.7%|
|18 to 24||4.6%||3.5%|
|25 to 34||8.8%||7.8%|
|35 to 49||14.4%||15.2%|
|55 to 64||4.1%||6%|
On the wireless gaming horizon, In-Stat/MDR estimates that mobile gaming services in the U.S. will generate $1.8 billion annually by 2009, when 78.6 million wireless subscribers will play mobile games.