Surveying the Web Game Market

Finally, here’s the big picture of web games, sometimes overlooked by game developers and the tech industry but still quite large.

Overall Install Base

Web games are primarily developed in Flash, a platform that has a market penetration of more than 99 percent of all personal computers. Other web-based platforms, such as HTML5, WebGL, and Unity will probably gain more prominence in the next few years (these are discussed in Chapter 10), but in the short to medium term, “web game” and Flash are almost synonymous.

CROSSREF For more about web-based platforms, see Chapter 10, “Future Trends and Opportunities for Web Gaming.”

Player Demographics

David Cole, head analyst with DFC Intelligence (, one of the game industry’s leading research firms, gave me this overview of the web-based gaming market in March 2012:

“Growth got hard hit by Facebook games on one hand and large client-based games on the other. The number of monthly active users is still high—about 200 million—but only about 10 million users are paying—that is, 5 percent.

“In terms of audience, you have primarily a teenage/young adult audience that skews more male. Very different than Facebook games, which skew older and more female. There is also a much larger percentage from Europe and emerging markets: Latin America, Russia, Turkey, and so on. North America is only about 20 percent.”

On this point, Mochi Media’s Colin Cupp concurred: “A lot of the players on the Mochi Media ...

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