Understanding Who Plays Facebook Games and Who Pays for Them

Many designers from the traditional game industry assume that Facebook games are only popular with casual female gamers, sometimes called “Facebook moms.” This stereotype, although somewhat true in the social network’s early years, has become less accurate in recent times. Whereas a 2010 PopCap-sponsored study suggested that 55 percent of U.S. Facebook gamers were women with an average age of 48, a 2011 study sponsored by Kabam showed a significant presence of gamers as we generally understand them. Of the people who play strategy games on Facebook, 82 percent reported they were also frequent console gamers, and 77 percent played PC games like WoW and Starcraft. So clearly there’s a large market for a variety of games. Generally speaking, about 5 percent of this player base will directly spend money on a game—see the interview with Inside Virtual Goods’s Justin Smith in the next chapter.

This is in a market of about 25 million monthly active users, or MAU.

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