If you think watching short video clips online and visiting social networking sites are America’s favorite pastimes, think again. YouTube, MySpace and FaceBook are big, but still not enough when compared to playing games online, according to a study released by research firm Parks Associates.
The study titled “Casual Gaming Market Update” has found that 34% of US adult internet users played online video games on a weekly basis, while 29% watched short online videos such as those found on YouTube and another 19% visited social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
Despite gaming remains the most popular entertainment online entertainment – driven largely by casual gaming activities, James Kuai, research analyst, Parks Associates said “The casual gaming industry cannot rest on its laurels.”
“The year-over-year growth rate for frequent online gamers was 79%, significantly higher than the growth rate for users of social networking (46%). However, the growth rate for frequent users of video streaming sites was 123%, which could pose a significant challenge to the gaming industry in capturing the online leisure time of Internet users”.
In order to counter the growing competition from other online activities, Kuai suggested that “the industry needs to continue to grow its fan base and find ways to better monetize its existing audience.”
The study, while aimed to get the data from the “casual gaming market”, failed to disclose the qualification of the game being studied or differentiate casual gaming from frequent gaming. However, it cautions online advertisers not to overlook online gaming income potentials.