RESTON, USA: comScore Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released an overview of the online gaming category among US Internet users, which showed a significant increase in the size of its audience during the past year as consumers increasingly opt for cheaper entertainment alternatives, driven in part by the reality of economic challenges.
The category attracted 87 million US visitors in May 2009, up 22 percent versus year ago.
Yahoo! Games ranked #1 in the category with 19.4 million visitors, representing a 6-percent increase over the past year, followed by EA Online with 18 million visitors (up 34 percent), Nickelodeon Casual Games with 14.8 million visitors, and WildTangent Network with 13.8 million (up 16 percent).
GSN Games Networks achieved particularly strong gains in the past year, growing 563 percent to 6 million visitors, due primarily to the additions of entities such as WorldWinner.com and CrazyMonkeyGames.com."Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year growing at ten times the rate of the total US Internet population and reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users," said Edward Hunter, comScore director of gaming solutions.
"And the growth in the category is occurring not only at the top gaming destination sites, but also through viral distribution platforms, including widgets and applications. In fact, some online gaming companies that distributed their games across sites are reaching as many people as the top online gaming sites."
Distribution platforms increase in significance
Distributed content, as measured by comScore Extended Web Metrix, represents a growing trend in the online gaming space. Distributed content platforms, including widgets and applications, can often reach audiences of a size comparable to online gaming destination sites.
MochiMedia, for example, reached a combined audience of 16.9 million in May, greater than all but two sites in the online gaming category. Games2Win reached 1.8 million people, which compares favorably with the top 20 sites in the category, while Tetris Online reached 165,000 people.
*Measurement of extended web entities requires participation from publishers to tag distributed content for measurement purposes. The sites listed do not represent an exhaustive list of online gaming publishers with distributed content.
"The power and reach of viral content distribution is well captured by comScore Extended Web Metrix," said Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-Founder, Games2win.
"With these latest consumer traffic numbers, we can now effectively present and strategically leverage our accelerating audience reach, and share data with our advertisers, marketers and partners that represents a holistic view of who is playing our games and from where."