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PlaySpan And Magid Gamer Survey Finds More Than 100 Million Americans Prefer Free-to-Play Games

PlaySpan, a Visa Company (NYSE: V) and leader in monetization solutions for digital content, online games and social networks, working with Frank N. Magid Associates found that an overwhelming majority (77 percent) of gamers are spending more time playing free-to-play (F2P) games than pay-to-play games. In the new Magid study on video game business models, the survey established that 110 million Americans prefer F2P games.

The study polled gamers on a variety of topics including favored platform, spending behavior and preference between F2P and pay-to-play gaming models. The study uncovered F2P games were seen as most attractive to female gamers, with 82 percent of women preferring a free model, compared to just 72 percent of men. The study also found men were nearly three times more likely than women to cite pay-to-play or subscription based games as their favorite.

Among those playing F2P games, men were three times more likely than women to make in-game purchases, averaging $13.38 and $4.84 per month, respectively. The difference was most pronounced in men and women gamers 18-24 years old, where the average climbed to $30.59 and $3.95 per month, respectively.

“The shift in free-to-play games is becoming the norm in the gaming industry and this survey reinforces that trend,” said Robert Crawford, vice president of Frank N. Magid Associates. “We’re seeing free-to-play game revenue outpacing pay-to-play games when looking at the long-term average spend per year. It’s important that game developers recognize this change and be able to monetize it through new free-to-play gaming platforms.”

The survey found that 46 percent of women indicated that gaming on a smartphone was their preferred gaming platform, while slightly more (48 percent) of men favored console gaming instead. There were also strong gender differences across game genres, where men were almost three times more likely to play shooters, 48 percent versus just 17 percent.

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