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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Starting Out: An Overview of the Web Gaming Market

In a 2011 survey by Mochi Media, the largest browser-based games network, a majority of web game developers reported making most of their money from ads and sponsorships.

As discussed in Chapter 1, web games have a markedly different audience than Facebook, skewing toward teen/young adult and male, with a player base that’s disproportionately based in developing nations such as Brazil and Turkey, as well as in Eastern Europe. As of 2012, according to DFC Intelligence, the total market for free-to-play browser-based games is 200 million, with 5 percent of that market (10 million) directly paying to play. However, keep in mind that web developers can still earn indirect revenue from all their players, such as through web ads (see “Where the Money’s Made” later in this chapter).

Although young guys make up the bulk of web game players, as M2 Research’s Billy Pidgeon explains, the web gamers likeliest to monetize are somewhat different:

This may partly explain why so many paying web gamers seem to be in their 30s and 40s—at least some of that likely reflects kids “borrowing” their parents’ credit cards!

“Paying web game customers are mostly in the 20- to 45-year-old demographic, and the gender split follows population and web user demographics—slightly more female. Big spenders—aka ‘whales’—with higher ARPU [average revenue per user] tend to be mainly in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, South Korea in particular,” ...

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