MMOs constitute 14 percent of all time spent playing video games in the U.S., according to survey results from a new international study. Console games, by comparison, claimed 34 percent of game playing time in the States.
TNS and Gamesindustry.com conducted surveys with more than 13,000 respondents aged eight years and older in the U.S. UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium for "Today’s Gamers MMO Focus Report".
The groups gathered data on the total time participants spent with a variety of video game platforms, including consoles, PCs, online gaming portals, and mobile phones.
The study found that an average of 5.5 hours a week per player is devoted to massively multiplayer online experiences in the States, compared to 4.9 hours for console players and 4.8 for casual game portal players.
Of the U.S. online population surveyed, 21 percent said they play MMOs. 45 percent of those count themselves as paying MMO players, while 30 percent have spent money on casual game portals.
The biggest factor gamers consider when deciding what titles to play are whether the MMOs are free to play and recommendations they've heard for friends. Respondents said they consider friends as more important sources of MMO information than news sites, blogs, print magazines, and TV.
In Europe, the amount of time spent with MMO games varies: 8 percent in the UK, 13 percent in Germany, 15 percent in France, 15 percent in the Netherlands, and 16 percent in Belgium. The portion of time spent with console titles in Europe ranges from 24 percent in the Netherlands and 40 percent in the UK. 10 percent of Europeans surveyed said they play MMOs.
Two thirds of the U.S. and European participants that reported playing MMOs are male. As for age groups, 8-12 years old make up the biggest segment in the U.S. which the report attributes to the popularity of virtual worlds targeting children, like Club Penguin
. Over 50 percent of France's and Germany's MMO players are teenagers, while most MMO gamers in the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium are older on average.
"The days we could categorize gamers on the basis of a single game platform are long gone," says Gamesindustry.com's Peter Warman. "Of the US console players, 29 percent also plays MMOs and 25 percent on their mobile phone. Also typical for today’s gamers is the fact that more than half of US console gamers (55%) also plays on casual game portals. All these platforms are increasingly competing for time and money of the same consumer."