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Video game sales are hurting because of the recession, but gamers are still consuming an awful lot of news about video games.
Traffic at the top 50 gaming sites grew to 20.2 million unique visitors, up 23 percent year over year in November, according to Kantar Media’s Compete.com traffic measurement subsidiary. By comparison, the category including games, music and movies grew 9 percent to 40.2 million unique visitors in November. Overall, game news sites have been hurt by the recession during 2009, but the traffic improvement in November is a welcome development.
The top site for game information, hints or cheats was IGN.com, with 6.1 million unique visitors, down 4.6 percent from a year ago. It was followed by Gamespot.com with 5.7 million and Gamefaqs.com with 3.2 million. Big gainers among the top 25 were Gametrailers.com, Battle.net and Gameahead.com.
There are of course a lot more people visiting sites to play games than to read news about them. The online game sites that host games that visitors can play grew to 53 million unique visitors in November, up 16.5 percent compared to a year ago (second chart). Pogo.com, the casual game site owned by Electronic Arts, grew 9 percent from a year ago to 9.7 million unique visitors in November. Other top online game sites included games.yahoo.com (6.2 million UVs), addictinggames.com (5.2 million UVs) and popcap.com (5.2 million UVs). The numbers don’t include Facebook-related online game sites.
The game sites run by game publishers (mainly as promotional or shopping sites, third chart) also saw spikes, largely due to the release of big games. Activision Blizzard’s CallofDuty.com saw a 71 percent month-over-month traffic increase in November to 215,000 unique visitors, thanks to the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Other sites related to the game — ModernWarfare2.com and InfinityWard.com — more than doubled in size. EA.com led traffic with 1.99 million unique visitors, but Ubi.com moved to second place with 900,400 unique visitors due to the launch of the hit game Assassins Creed 2.