Social gamers to be nearly one third of US Internet users by 2012

CityVille is huge
CityVille is huge

At least that's what the most recent study published by eMarketer author Paul Verna shows. According to his findings, the social gaming industry will see a 29.5 percent increase since 2010 to 2012. Coincidentally, this will amount to 29 percent of the Internet population in the US playing social games by that time. Keep in mind that the study assumes that fundamental social games, meaning those with simplistic yet addictive game mechanics like FarmVille, will maintain popularity over the next two years (fact chance). But don't get too giddy just yet.

Shockingly, Verna calls these findings conservative compared to other studies, citing a general decrease in social gamers from Sept. to Dec. 2010 as well as a year-over-year decrease from Dec. 2009 to last month. In other words, a large number of social gamers have been moving on recently despite the runaway success of CityVille. Also, eMarketer found that the top social games, i.e. games by Zynga and friends that account for 75 percent of total social gaming traffic, suffered a decline too.

The firm goes on to mention that the decline could be related to Facebook's turbulent changes to Notifications in 2010 (we so called it). Since when is a 30 percent increase sobering news? "With these caveats in mind, eMarketer's conclusion is that the Inside Social Games data is not a surefire sign of waning interest, but it does put a damper on expectations," Verna said. "Accordingly, we're forecasting growth–but at a slower rate than what we've seen over the past two years." You know, leave it to social gaming marketing moguls to whine over a 30 percent increase. Babies.

[Via Social Times]

Do you think the top social games like CityVille and FarmVille will continue to lose players? How do you think this will effect newer games and developers? Speak up in the comments. Add Comment.

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