Emerging markets will spend billions on games this year

Gamers are expected to spend billions of dollars in emerging markets this year such as Brazil, Mexico and Russia, according to market researcher Newzoo, based in Amsterdam.

Newzoo’s data shows that gaming is spreading rapidly around the globe, thanks to online play, mobile games, and new ways to pay for games such as free-to-play games with micro-transactions.

In Brazil, gamers are expected to spend $2 billion on games in 2011. Online and mobile gaming accounts for 68 percent of time spent gaming and 51 percent of spending.

“Brazil is leading Western countries when it comes to the popularity of new game platforms and business models,” said Newzoo chief executive Peter Warman. “Even with the current economic growth, paying more than $50 for a game is out of reach for many game-crazy Brazilians.”

The growth in Brazil is due to the uptake of social, mobile and massively multiplayer online games, all of which depend on free-to-play business models, where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods.

Games on Facebook and the Google-owned social network Orkut account for 11 percent of spending, while casual game sites account for 15 percent. About 16 percent, or $320 million, is spent on MMOs. Mobile devices generate 9 percent, or $180 million. Consoles account for 34 percent of spending, but a big part of that goes to used or pirated copies.

Brazilians spend about an equal amount on boxed PC and Mac games as they do on digital downloads. But $48 million of the boxed spending goes to pirated or used games, which generate no money for game publishers. Of 23 million Brazilians who download games, 64 percent admit to piracy.

By comparison, spending on games in Mexico will reach $1.2 billion in 2011, according to Newzoo. Game preferences there and spending behavior are similar to the U.S. Mobile and online games account for about 60 percent of the time and 31 percent of the money spent on gaming.

In Russia, gamers will spend $1.5 billion on games in 2011. MMO and PC gaming account for 56 percent of spending. Casual, social and mobile account for 48 percent of the time spent gaming. And 49 percent of Russia’s 38 million gamers are female.

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