A recent survey conducted by PlaySpan working in conjunction with Frank N. Magid Associates found that 77 percent of gamers are spending more time on free-to-play games. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody with games like League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, and the classic version of Minecraft available for free. Who wouldn't like playing video games for free?
The study found that around 110 million Americans play free-to-play games (to put that in perspective, the population of the United States is roughly 314 million). The F2P model is more popular among women (82 percent) compared to men (72 percent). The study also concluded that men were three times more likely to say pay-to-play or subscription based games were their favorite.
Among those playing F2P games, men were three times more likely than women to make in-game purchases, averaging $13.38 and $4.84 per month, respectively. The difference was most pronounced in men and women gamers 18-24 years old, where the average climbed to $30.59 and $3.95 per month, respectively.
The survey found that 46 percent of women indicated that gaming on a smartphone was their preferred gaming platform, while slightly more (48 percent) of men favored console gaming instead. There were also strong gender differences across game genres, where men were almost three times more likely to play shooters, 48 percent versus just 17 percent.
"The shift in free-to-play games is becoming the norm in the gaming industry and this survey reinforces that trend," said Robert Crawford, Vice President of Frank N. Magid Associates, in an official press release. "We’re seeing free-to-play game revenue outpacing pay-to-play games when looking at the long-term average spend per year. It’s important that game developers recognize this change and be able to monetize it through new free-to-play gaming platforms."
PlaySpan is a company that provides a monetization platform for digital media, mobile apps, social networks, and online games. They will be presenting the complete results of their survey at the Game Developers Conference later this month.
"The modern era of console, PC and mobile game development is quickly changing,” added Andre Machicao, head of PlaySpan. "Developers are faced with more platform choices and monetization channels than ever before, and these survey results offer a clear view into where developers should be placing their bets to broaden their audience."