GamesBeat

Study claims over 100 million Americans prefer free-to-play games

Hawken

Free is awesome … especially when it comes to games. That’s how an overwhelming majority of Americans feel, according to a recent study.

Monetization solutions firm PlaySpan, in conjunction with research company Frank N. Magid Associates, polled gamers on a number of issues including preference between free-to-play and pay-to-play games.

Unsurprisingly, people prefer not to spend money.

The poll reveals that 82 percent of women prefer F2P. Meanwhile, 72 percent of men prefer the free games over traditional retail models. That translates to 110 million Americans who prefer F2P over games with a price tag, according to PlaySpan and Magid.

“The modern era of console, PC and mobile game development is quickly changing,” PlaySpan head Andre Machicao said in a statement. “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.”

Women may prefer free games, but men are more likely to spend more in those games. Male participants in the survey spend an average of $13.38 per month on in-game purchases. Women only average $4.84 in the same category.

“The shift in free-to-play games is becoming the norm in the gaming industry, and this survey reinforces that trend,” Frank N. Magid Associates vice president Robert Crawford said in a statement. “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.”

As a monetization company, these are the results that PlaySpan would hope to find, but the numbers reflect the revenue landscape on mobile platforms. Most major iOS and Android releases implement a free-to-download approach that is heavy on in-app purchases and advertising.

Even major console and PC developers like Crysis 3 studio Crytek are working toward a free-to-play model.

PlaySpan will present further findings from the poll during the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. Beginning March 27, interested parties can request a copy of the report from PlaySpan’s website.


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