Game Development Reference
What's the best way to attract these players? You need to understand your
audience and what motivates them in order to better cater to the emotional
triggers they may not even consciously recognize they have. Let's start with
some of the statistics as revealed to us by several of the best studies that have
been done on the space. It's worth mentioning that different studies vary in the
data they've gathered, the validity of their statistical analysis, and their inter-
pretation of the resulting data. So as with all statistics, you should tread with
caution. However, there is enough similarity amongst several of these stud-
ies' conclusions that a fairly accurate portrait of the social gamer is starting to
A 2010 study conducted by PopCap, creator of popular social games such as
Bejeweled and Insaniquarium , looked at game players in both the United States
and the United Kingdom. 2 This study defined a social gamer as someone who
plays games on social network sites like Facebook at least once a week. The
results of their study indicated that the average player is a 43-year-old female.
This is a much different demographic than traditional video games, in terms of
both age and gender. Some other interesting pieces of data obtained by their
l More than 60 percent of Facebook users are older than 35.
l Women are more likely to play social games with their real-world friends
than men (68 percent vs. 56 percent), and women are nearly twice as likely
as men to play social games with relatives (46 percent vs. 29 percent).
l Social gamers have a higher income, on average, than the U.S. popula-
tion at large. One-third of social gamers in the United States earn less than
$35,000 a year; 17 percent earn between $35,000 and $49,000; 21 percent
make between $50,000 and 75,000; and 21 percent earn more than $75,000
l Social gamers spend 39 percent of their time on social networking sites/
services playing games as compared to chatting with/messaging friends
(17 percent) and playing solo games (15 percent). Nearly half (49 percent)
said that when they connect to social networks, they do so specifically to
play social games.
l A little over half (53 percent) of social gamers say they've earned and/
or spent virtual currency in a game; 28 percent have purchased vir-
tual currency with real-world money, and 32 percent have purchased