New survey challenges conventional wisdom on social gamers

We've heard it over and over -- the social gaming revolution is attracting a new type of gamer. They're older. They're more female. They're less likely to like "hardcore" games. But today, a new study from Newzoo/ is challenging that conventional wisdom, saying that casual gamers are closer to the overall pool of gamers than you might have thought.

The new survey of 13,000 respondents aged 8 and older found the average age for social gamers was 29 in the U.S. and 27 in Germany, France and the UK. That's actually younger than the 35- year-old average age the Entertainment Software Association lists for the average gamer in the US. It's also much younger than the 43 year old average Popcap found in its recent survey of casual gamers, a difference Newzoo's Peter Warman attributes to that company's flawed methodology. "Their conclusion was based on a survey among only 18+ year olds," he said. "It is therefore not at all surprising that their average age is extraordinarily high; it is clearly not a representative number."

While the Newzoo study did find that a slight majority -- 55% -- of U.S. social gamers were female, those numbers flip in France, where only 46% of social gamers are female. In either case, it's not much more than the 40% of U.S. gamers the ESA says are female. The Newzoo study also found that only 24% consider social networks their "primary gaming destination," leaving a large majority that presumably use consoles, portables, or traditional PC games for much of their gaming fix.

Food for thought in the ongoing debate about how exactly social gaming is changing the game industry.
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