A study shows that of all the time spent playing games by all the gamers in the United States and Europe, 15% of that time is spent inside an MMOG - but the breakdown may surprise you.
Blizzard's Rob Pardo's belief that the success of World of Warcraft has expanded the MMOG market really does almost seem like a no-brainer, but it's interesting to see some numbers. A new survey commissioned by Gamesindustry.com called "Today's Gamers MMO Focus Report" surveyed 13,000 respondents aged eight years and older and found that of every 100 hours the group spent playing games, 15 of those were in an MMOG.
That's interesting in and of itself, but the individual stats are even more intriguing. American gamers played MMOGs 14% of the time at an average of 5.5 hours per week (more than 4.9 hours per week for console gamers and 4.8 hours per week for "casual game portal players." Mainland European gamers were similar, with Belgians clocking in at 16% time played in MMOGs, French and Dutch at 15%, and the Germans at 13% - but intriguingly, it looks like MMOGs aren't that popular in the UK, where they made up just 8% of hours played.
You might not be surprised to find that two-thirds of MMOG users are male, but you may be surprised to learn that the largest age group was not 18-to-25-year-olds playing World of Warcraft, but rather 8-to-12-year-olds playing Club Penguin and Disney Toontown - at least in the States. Gamers aged 13 to 19 were the biggest group in France and Germany, and even older in the Netherlands, the UK, and Belgium.
Anywhere from 35% to 40% of MMOG users in Europe pay to play via subscriptions, a number that is slightly higher in the States - but respondents worldwide indicated that the "most important source of information" about MMOGs was not TV, magazines, or gaming websites but rather one's friends. In other words, if your friends all tell you that a given game is great, you're more likely to play it than if I'm telling you it's great. Which kind of goes without saying.
If you've got 4,950 euros to burn, you can purchase the full report here.