Casual and social game publisher PopCap commissioned a survey of almost 5,000 consumers through Information Solutions Group looking at how U.S. and UK gamers approach casual and social games. More than 1,200 of the respondents played games on social networking sites at least once a week…but these people don’t seem to be the young tweens glued to their phones and Facebook and tweets: instead, the “average” social gamer is a 43-year-old woman.
“This study establishes social games as a fast-growing and quickly maturing pastime for an enormous portion of the population,” said Thinktank Research founder Robin Boyar, in a statement. “And with more than 80 percent of social gamers stating that playing social games strengthens their relationship with friends, family and colleagues, social gaming reinforces the core appeal of social networks.”
The detailed survey results (PDF) highlight some interesting differences between U.S. and UK social gamers: U.S.-based social gamers had an average age of 48, while the average age in the UK was 38, a full ten years younger. Furthermore, almost half (46 percent) of U.S. social gamers were over the age 50, where that figure was only 23 percent in the UK. There’s also a larger gender disparity in the UK: where 55 percent of American social gamers are female, that number increases to 58 percent in the UK. U.S. players also tend to tap into social gaming more frequently, with some 68 percent saying they engage in social games daily, compared to 55 percent of respondents from the UK.
The survey also found that Facebook is far and away the most popular site for social gamers, with some 83 percent of respondents saying they play games on the service, compared to 24 percent who play on MySpace and single digits for other social networking services like Bebo and Friendster. The survey also found that nearly half the time these users log into social networks, they do it specifically to play games.
However, social connections also vary by gender: some 62 percent of resopndents said they play social games with real-world friends, 56 percent with online friends, and 37 percent with total strangers. However, where 41 percent of U.S.-based players game with strangers, only 21 percent of UK respondents play social games with strangers.