Game Development Reference
l 62 percent of social gamers agree that social games allowed them to recon-
nect with “old friends, colleagues, classmates etc.”; a similar percentage
(63 percent) say that social games have been a source of new friendships
and 70 percent say that social games make them feel more connected.
But what conclusions have other groups come to about this exciting new
GamesIndustry.com, a respected business intelligence and professional
networking site, conducted a different survey in 2010, polling more than
13,000 players aged 8 years and up. 4 Interestingly, their conclusions differ from
l The average age of players in the United States is 29.2 years old. (However,
their infographic lists several different conclusions, often on the same chart.)
l International players are slightly younger, particularly in France, where the
average age of a social gamer is reported to be 26.8 years old.
l The GamesIndustry.com survey concurs with PopCap's findings in that more
women play social games than men, claiming that 60 percent of U.S. social
gamers are female.
CNN, a U.S. news outlet, also weighed in on the debate in early 2010. They
focused on analyzing data from Zynga's player base, primarily from FarmVille .
l Approximately 60 percent of Zynga's customers are female.
l The average age seems to range widely based on the specific game played.
( Mafia Wars and FishVille have much lower average ages than Zynga Poker
and Café World , for example.)
According to CNN, Zynga understood some key design philosophies that
many traditional game developers missed. As a result of looking at game design
differently, or borrowing from those who did, Zynga was able to capture a new
market segment composed of users who had traditionally felt alienated by more
“hardcore” gaming experiences.
Zynga's founder, Mark Pincus, was quoted as saying, “A great social game
should be like a great cocktail party. If you want it to appeal to absolutely
everyone you invite, it has to be broad in its content so that everyone gets it.”
Ultimately, regardless of which set of statistics we buy into, we encourage
readers to keep Mr. Pincus's comment in mind. Every day, large segments of
the population are getting online, and many of them are playing games for
the first time. This is true across many different platforms, from Facebook to
competing social networks, consoles, and increasingly powerful mobile devices.
Many of these potential gamers are unlikely to be interested in the types of