Gamasutra today posted this interview with Yuanzhe Cai, director of broadband and gaming at Parks Associates, the researchers who put together this study and its results.
It’s nice timing after my post yesterday, which ended this way:
Another broad point that all this makes me think about: There’s room for lots of different kinds of games, and lots of different kinds of gamers.
Summary results of the study were posted yesterday as Gamasutra, and since I know you’re dying to hear them, here’s the bit about the types of gamers:
- “Power gamers” represent 11 percent of the gamer market but account for 30 cents of every dollar spent on retail and online games.
- “Social gamers,” 13 percent of the market, enjoy gaming as a way to interact with friends.
- “Leisure gamers,” 14 percent of the market, spend 58 hours per month playing games but mainly on casual titles. Nevertheless they prefer challenging titles and show high interest in new gaming services.
- “Dormant gamers,” 26 percent of the market, love gaming but spend little time because of family, work, or school. They like to play with friends and family and prefer complex and challenging games.
- “Incidental gamers,” 12 percent of the market, lack motivation and play games mainly out of boredom. However, they spend more than 20 hours a month playing online games.
- “Occasional gamers,” 24 percent of the market, play puzzle, word, and board games almost exclusively.
I’d highly recommend reading both stories in detail. But as usual, I’ll quote some highlights:
“If game companies insist on chasing the mythical hardcore and casual gamer segments, they will miss out on more than half of the market,” said Cai. “The market is not black and white anymore, and game marketers need to understand these finer nuances.”
A good followup to that:
How can publishers take advantage of this “middle ground”?
First, they must understand the demographics of middle market gamers, their gaming behaviors, and their interest. Second, they should design games, services, and business models specifically for the middle market gamers instead of treating them as an afterthought or wishfully thinking that games designed for power gamers will magically appeal to everybody.
Third, publishers should recognize that middle-market gamers are less likely than power gamers to talk about games all the time, and therefore it’s vital to know where they acquire information about new games and services. Fourth, they can leverage game advertising to monetize the middle market gamers. If the leisure gamers spend so much time (58 hours per month) playing games but not a lot of money, then generating ads revenue from their eyeball hours makes sense.
Here’s a bold one. I’m not convinced people are so clearly limited to just one type:
Is there overlap between the groups – for example, wouldn’t many power gamers also be social gamers?
No. These are exclusive gamer groups. The names of the gamer groups are based on their most differentiating attributes.
And a great ending/challenge, on social interaction and gaming:
Why did the importance of social interaction to all these groups come as a surprise?
Right now MMOGs and online FPS games seem to be all the rage. MMOGs are essentially a big chat room, right? The result that middle market gamers also value socialization does not surprise us per se, but it is surprising in the sense that the industry has not paid enough attention to this obvious fact.
Many gaming services targeting non-core/power gamers tend to focus on content access and single-player games rather than community building and multiplayer gameplay. Club Pogo was successful partly because of its focus on community features.
It’s actually interesting when you think about this: MySpace now has more than 100 million registered users and even WOW, the most popular MMOG, pales in comparison [editor: 6.6 million].