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New data shows F2P market continuing to grow

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The latest MMO Games Market Report from Newzoo has revealed some impressive facts about the growing free-to-play MMO market in North America.

Free-to-play MMOs have increased player’s spending by 24% to a total of $1.2 billion in the United States, pushing the free-to-play market’s share to a total of 47% of the entire MMO market (the remaining 53% belonging to subscription-based MMOs).

Demographically, U.S. MMO gamers are 67% male, 33% female, with 15% of gamers being over age 36 – the rest fall into the 10-20 (31%) and 21-35 (54%) age range.

The fastest growing games in the United States free-to-play market currently, the report reveals, are League of Legends, Wizard101, and Age of Conan.

League of Legends Gameplay Screenshot


Free-to-Play MMO Game Spending Increases 24% to $1.2bn in U.S.

Free-to-play share of total U.S. MMO spending increases from 39% to 47%.

F2P more popular in European (53%), Asian (51%) and Emerging (59%) Markets.

Individual game revenues under pressure in increasingly competitive MMO market.

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, November 9, 2011 – Newzoo today released a new 2011 MMO Games Market Report that shows consumers across thirteen key Western, Asian and Emerging markets, spend a total of $4.9bn on free-to-play (F2P) MMO games. This year, Americans are spending 24% more on F2P MMO games than in 2010, totaling $1.2bn or 47% of all MMO spending. This  share is significantly higher than the 39% in 2010, but lower than European (53%), Asian (51%) and Emerging (59%) markets. Despite growth figures in consumer spending, individual games and publishers are struggling to grow, or maintain revenue levels and market share, specifically in Western markets.  Considering that the number of high-quality MMO games available to consumers has doubled since the start of 2010, Newzoo projects 2012 will be a year of consolidation. The increasing number of Asian online game companies seeking expansion outside of Asia could play a key role in this.

Fierce competition: challenges and opportunities

“The MMO games market is rapidly turning global. It has become increasingly important for MMO developers and publishers think carefully about which titles to publish in what  territories and how to adapt  the games according to local preferences, including monetization models that work best. Recent lay-offs and the sudden death of Lego Universe are serious warnings for the MMO games industry . Success will also strongly depend on how MMO companies extend their unique gameplay and IP across other game platforms, specifically mobile..” according to Peter Warman, CEO of games market research firm Newzoo and co-author of the  2011 MMO Games Market Report. The report compares key regions and provides country-specific data to support decision makers.  A summary of key facts and insights are highlighted in the free Newzoo Trend Report: “MMO Games, Massively Popular”

A global market with local preferences

Consumer preferences differ significantly across regions and countries in terms of  business model, genres, as well as playing browser or client MMO games. For instance 24% of Asian MMO gamers only play client-based MMO games, a figure that drops to 15% in Emerging Markets. In all regions, approximately one-third of gamers play both browser as well as client-based MMOs. Very different MMO games top the charts in U.S., Europe and Latin America when it comes to the fastest-growing F2P MMO games. According to iQU tracking data of 80M online gamers across the globe, World of Tanks (Wargaming) leads Europe including Russia, League of Legends (Riot Games) tops the U.S. chart and Shaiya (AeriaGames) leads in Latin America. More Asian companies are expected to enter the charts soon. Chinese browser-MMO games publisher Koram Games is a typical example: not as well known as Nexon or ShandaGames, but already grossing more than $12M of its $180M revenues in English-speaking countries.

Other key facts:

  • Americans spend 26M hours per day in total playing MMO games.
  • In 2011, total consumer spend on MMO games in the U.S. will grow 3% compared to 2010, from  $2.5bn to $2.6bn.
  • Free-to-play MMO revenues for seven key EU countries totals $1.1bn. Emerging Markets Russia, Brazil and Mexico spend $0.4bn. Korea and China combined spend  $2.2bn on Free-to-play MMOs.
  • 84% of U.S. MMO gamers plays browser-based MMOs. Almost half of these consumers also play client-based MMOs.
    • 37% of F2P and 35% of P2P MMO gamers prefer Sci-Fi/Space themed MMO games.

More facts and insights in the free and full report.

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