Posted September 29, 2011 3:35 pm by with 2 comments

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There are those who believe that video gamers are anti-social misfits who step outside their cave-like comfort zones only in search of food and the occasional shower. And while that might of been true of a generation who consumed Pac-Man cereal for every meal, it’s no longer the case.

Today’s gamers come from a wide variety of age groups and educational backgrounds, and the majority of them are women. Even more amazing? They’re social. They may be sitting home alone while they peck on the keyboard (though it’s more likely they’re surrounded by several young children), but inside the game, they’re communicating with real people from all around the world.

I’m talking, actual humans, not figures programmed to act like one.

Social gaming company, RockYou, has just released the results of their recent gaming study and it’s good news for marketers. With the usual caveat about where these numbers came from, I give you the Top 5 Insights About Social Gamers.

Time and Connections

Social gamers spend a lot of time online. An average of 13 hours per week just on social networks, and 9.5 hours on social games. They average 218 social connections, but only 16.5 of them are “real-life” friends who play the same games.

Games Are Serious Business

22% of gamers said that the fact that their online friends could see their scores drove them to play more often and harder. 25% preferred games with missions and 50% said they had at least one game console at home as well.

In-Game Ads

42% of social gamers said they’d be more motivated to play a game that offered them real rewards like gift cards. 24% said they have clicked on an in-game ad and they made a purchase.

On-Line Equals Off-Line

When they aren’t playing games, gamers are big time consumers of real world products.

It Takes All Kinds

RockYou says gamers all fit into one of four categories:

  • Affluent players who spend on in-game currency to get ahead
  • Competitive players who play to win and broadcast their achievements
  • Newbie players who are less tech-savvy and prefer free content
  • Devotees who are power users but also prefer free play

Why is this important to you? Because there are 37 million social gamers in the US alone and they’re they best customers you’ll ever have. They pay attention to your ads. They buy your products and they spread the love among their friends. And all they ask in return is 9.5 hours of fun a week. Now, that’s not too much? Is it?

  • Oh, wow. The four types of gamers is great, but feels inconclusive. I read an excellent article recently on other motivations to play games – one of which is simply the journey to the next experience level. It gets to be addicting – level up, get to a new part of the game, then grind harder to reach the next experience level. Each one gets harder to reach than the last.

    Pure escapism into a new character’s skin is yet another reason for gaming. Kongregate is full of “social” games where a person can simply socialize and play out an assumed character. The game is almost completely forgotten, serving as basic stage dressing for their scenarios.

    I worked briefly for an MMO. I have three folders in Google Reader: “Marketing”, “Video Games” and “My Websites.” My qualifications are: “briefly flirted in this field but loved it.”

    Now that video games are almost completely mainstream, gamers are as diverse as we are. These four types are no doubt an excellent starting point, but there are absolutely more than four or even six types of gamers.

  • I believe the boom of casual social games such as Farmville is evident as to how many social gamers there are. These kind of audience is a great target for referral marketing as they are virtually in contact with other social gamers all over the world.