Casual Video Gamers Are Key Targets

Casual Video Gamers Are Key Targets

JULY 25, 2007

Someone has to sponsor all those sudoku games.

Heavy
video gamers comprise only 2% of all gamers, yet they spent more than
eight times on games than the average gamer did in the last quarter of
2006, according to NPD Group‘s "Gamer Segmentation II" study, conducted in January 2007 among gamers ages 6 to 44.

These heavy gamers owned an average of 2.8 video game consoles, and played an average of 39.3 hours every week.

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Yet Anita Frazier of NPD noted, "Heavy gamers have always been a
focal segment for the games industry because they’re so deeply invested
in gaming. The potential for industry growth lies with the other,
larger groups, and getting them increasingly involved in gaming over
time."

US marketers spent $150 million advertising in casual games in 2006, from $124 million in 2005, according to DFC Intelligence and the Casual Games Association, cited in an Advertising Age article.

A 2006 Associated Press/AOL study conducted by Ipsos
of gaming types found that close to a third of US players ranked casual
games as their favorite type. Interestingly, game types associated with
the stereotypical "core" gamer — like action, sports and shooting
titles — ranked lower on the scale.

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This market is creating opportunities for a broad range of companies. For instance, Eyeblaster
is focused on the casual gaming sector, according to Ran Cohen, its
director of emerging media. The company recently entered into a
partnership with RealNetworks to stream video ads into downloadable
games.

"Within this segment, in the US market alone, we estimate that
in 2006 there were more than 700 million downloads of casual games,"
said Mr. Cohen. "The try-and-buy model, where the game is offered for a
one-hour trial, is translating to something equivalent to 800 centuries
of entertainment time in front of the user. What I’m saying by that is
that the inventory available in this segment is incredible. I don’t
think there’s a limitation on the inventory side. The limitation will
be more on the growth of the video advertising side."

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