Who needs console wars? Most gamers own multiple platforms, claims survey

A new survey by research firm Newzoo reveals that U.S. gamers are not shifting to new platforms, but expanding the number of platforms they play on - based on need and situation. The data also shows that gamers are spending more money on games and game content.

Newzoo?s US National Gamers Survey 2010 shows that the 160 million Americans playing more kinds of games on multiple platforms including smartphones, social networks and online. These same players have not shifted away from playing games on consoles such as PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

In fact, consoles are still the most popular platforms, with 118 million American players. Online casual games come in second with 112 million players, while social networks such as Facebook coming in third with 88 million players.

Nearly 77 million Americans use a smart phone or Apple iOS devices to play games on, while 80 million players also enjoy retail PC and Mac games. Around 72 million people are downloading games directly to their PC or Mac. Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) complete the list with 51 million US players ages 10 and up.

The survey found that the average American playing games uses three of the seven aforementioned platforms or distribution channels. Newzoo says that the new free-to-play model on various platforms has huge implications for the market. According to the survey data, 56 percent of console gamers also play games on a smartphone or Apple iOS device, 59 percent on social networks, and 40 percent plays MMOs. Of those players, more than 50 percent spend money on in-game content. On the other hand, 60 percent of paying free-to-play MMO players also spend money on console games.

In total 71 percent of all players (115 million Americans) spend money on games. Newzoo says that growth in free-to-play conversion rates has doubled since 2009 related to MMOs, digital distribution, and social games. The share of paying players now ranges from 25 percent for social network gamers to 62 percent for console gamers.

The US National Gamers Survey Report is part of the International Gamers Surveys 2010. Newzoo conducted the surveys in the US, UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium earlier this year. The surveys involved more than 10,000 respondents from national panels representative of the total online population of 10 years and older. Further details on these surveys is available at www.nationalgamerssurvey.com.

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