Online gaming up 22% in US - Report

Industry-tracker comScore finds over 87 million flocked to browser-based and other connected game apps in May.

In March, the NPD Group reported that massively multiplayer online game sales outstripped their non-genre competitors in 2008. Now a new report suggests that growth of online gaming is by no means limited to the massively multiplayer segment.

A big winner. GSN Games Network reportedly saw 6 million visitors in May, compared to 910,000 last year.

As of May 2009, 87.1 million people were gaming online in the US, a 22 percent increase over the previous year, according to a study done by comScore in May 2009. Analysts found that although the number of Internet users remained mostly stagnant--up just 2 percent over last year--Web users are flocking to online games.

The industry-tracking group attributed the growth to "the reality of economic challenges" as gamers with thinning wallets turn to cheap and free online games. According to the report, browser-based game portals drew in the most online gamers, with Yahoo! Games attracting 19.4 million unique visitors. EA Online was second at 18 million, and Nickelodeon Casual Games at third with 14.8 million.

The study found that stand-alone online game applications weren't as popular as many of these browser-based portals, with MMOG giant World of Warcraft lagging as the 21st most popular online locale with 2.2 million US-based visitors. The nearest single-game competitor to WOW was Java-based RuneScape at 155th, with 202,000 players.

Some online titles saw significant changes in player population in May over the previous year. NCsoft's 2004 comic-themed MMO role-playing game City of Heroes rose by 49 percent, Korea's third-person shooter GunZ plummeted by 41 percent, and the fantasy MMORPG RuneScape climbed by 43 percent. World of Warcraft saw a modest gain from 2008, increasing by 10 percent.

This year's data is only part of a growing trend favoring online gaming, according to comScore director Edward Hunter. "Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year, growing at 10 times the rate of the total US Internet population and reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users," he said.

Although more gamers may be playing online, they may not be clocking in more hours than they have before. On June 29, the NPD Group reported the amount of time gamers spend playing online has remained the same relative to last year. On average, 38 percent of a gamer's playtime was spent playing online, it stated.

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Discussion

66 comments
RedTree12
RedTree12

I agree with DiscGuru101. Anybody with the capability of rubbing two brain cells together, can draw the conclusion that high unemployment plays a major role in the 22% rise. What the F*** are you supposed to do when you cant find a job as a result of the economic molestation being brought to us by the international banking cartels.

The_Corinthian
The_Corinthian

I'm sticking with LOTRO because Turbine is run by geniuses. I picked up the lifetime plan for $200 and haven't paid a single monthly fee yet and I've been playing since release so that's already $100 I saved if I'd have played monthly. The game is just freaking beautiful beyond words, makes WOW look like a cheap cartoon and yes, I played it for 2 years until I noticed that it's only real activity was farming.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

High unemployment leads to online gaming? Me thinks so. Online games consume a lot of time, with very little expense. They are also a great way to stop eating if you get full addicted. =D

metalkid9
metalkid9

@Ne_rome, It's already downloaded ;)

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

If I may quote the participants themselves: "ZOMGZ THIS IZ AWESOME LOLLERSKATEZ."

PhilWil92
PhilWil92

Maybe this will convince Microsoft or Sony to make a KICK@SS MMORPG for their console. I've been dreaming of that day. Seem closer now than ever.

Geek12
Geek12

In an MMORPG I always get frustrated or bored, and it's tough for me to see where i'm going with my character. Maybe because i was doing it wrong? Maybe it's because i was playing the wrong games? I would love to try Guild wars but i haven't gotten around to it.

Melty123
Melty123

I love Guild Wars, waiting for GW2 well it's the only online game I like for now cause other games I've played are not so beautiful but Guild Wars tho old game looks more beautiful than some not online games made last year.

kweeni
kweeni

i like online gaming, sometimes it can keep me occupied for hours. co-op is also one of my favorite parts of online gaming, if done right it could be a blast. but sometimes i just like to play on my own and follow a story

ISuPrEmAcY32I
ISuPrEmAcY32I

I like a good online game as much as the next guy. I played and raided wow in BC, and i plan on trying out star wars the old republic. and i like playing call of duty, and worms, and other games online too. So i'm ok with the news. One thing i dislike though is that i see way too much of companies gravitating towards online at the expensive of single player. I like playing online but at heart i enjoy sitting down and taking my time to do everything in games like oblivion. I will never chose WoW over games like that.

dzfunk64
dzfunk64

Born_Lucky, Yes, I read it. I never said anything about that, though, I just said that the MMORPGs aren't free. The other ones might be, but the MMORPGs aren't. For the other part, I assume you're talking about the mini-game sites, not the MMORPGs. If so, then yes, that's true. But I was only arguing about the MMORPGs.

samissleman17
samissleman17

To all those ignorant people out there, the article is talking about free arcadey things like yahoo games and other free crap. Not COD 4, WOW, KZ2, Halo. Things any old computer can play. What i will say is, why the hell cant we get better splitscreen on consoles? Some people wanna play at one house. Like in COD 4, i wanna be able to use more of the weapons splitscreen! Why no bad co splitscreen? 4 player splitscreen L4D? Its so easy to put in, just do it! GawD!!! I will say that singleplayer has a more surreal experience than multiplayer. for example, Dead space 4 player wouldn't be scary at all. But, online is great also. :)

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

Online gaming is where people have a lot of fun right now. Co-Op games are the type I prefer more than anything else. Playing four-player Co-Op on Halo 3 is great. And playing Co-Op on games like Gears of War 1 & 2, and Rainbow Six: Vegas is awesome. I can't wait for the four-player Lost Planet 2, and the four-player Co-Op mode that will be included in Crackdown 2. Virtua Fighter 5 gets a lot of my time in the Fighting genre. Virtua Fighter has always been my favorite fighting game series. I was very disappointed when the Playstation 3 version didn't offer online play. I was very happy when I found out the Xbox 360 version of Virtua Fighter 5 would offer online play. Lately I've been playing Virtua Fighter 5 quite a bit again. I really am glad online gaming is with high-speed Internet access this generation.

Tauu
Tauu

@Lisandro_v22: You're describing a small minority of mmorpg players. Most people are more secure of themselves than that and play to make friends and go on adventures with those people. I played FFXI for 4 years and the only reason me and my friends wanted to get better was to help the endgame linkshell (guild) we ran be more successful. We had so much fun together and we eagerly await FFXIV.

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

right now mmorpgs are just some kind of cheap catarsis for people that urge for envy, and to stand out in something, if people could see through they would realise it's just a competition of who has more free time whatever backstory or motive the character has it's just an excuse to level up it all comes down to that, how could there ever be any meaning in that?

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

@dzfunk64: it's true that mmorpgs have great stories nowadays but character development? don't make me laugh, mmorpgs characters are as sensitive as a rock, they don't have a personality their lifegoal is and will always be to hit stuff to level up the rest - backstories, motives etc- is just an excuse

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

dzfunk - First - The article said one of the biggest reasons for the rise was free games - did you even read it? Second - One or two MMORPGs a year is fine, but most online games are made because developers know that a 20 - 40 hour (or more) single player game is a lot of work, but cranking out 5 hour games with no story or anything else is a cheap and easy way to get idiots that don't know any better to pay for getting ripped off. Like I said - we need more high quality single player games.

dzfunk64
dzfunk64

RuneScape is a great MMORPG, and is currently the second-biggest in terms of players (~7 million). Most people never even give RuneScape a chance - they just play it for a day then decide it's crap. MMORPGs are very complicated games, and you aren't going to master them in a day, or realize everything there is to do. Also, the members version is VERY awesome, while the free version is pretty limited. So, if you've only played the free version of the game, you know absolutely nothing about it! Give me a thumbs down for this, if you must, but it's the truth, even if you want to pretend it isn't. ----- Born_Lucky, The MMOs aren't free, and they've all seen a significant increase in players. You shouldn't assume that just because you want single player games, so does everyone else. The article seems to suggest the opposite. You obviously haven't ever played an MMORPG before. Both RuneScape and World of Warcraft have great stories (not just one story, like single player games), and plenty of character development. RuneScape is updated every week or two with new content, while World of Warcraft gets expansion packs, to add new content, and make the games continue to remain interesting.

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

After reading the article, the headline should read "Free Gaming Up 22%" - Most of the increase is in free online games. The majority of PC gamers want more quality single player games. Developers are cheating kids by making 1/2 a game and then calling it "online" No story, no character development , no great musical score - - lazy, lazy, lazy.

salman06p0020
salman06p0020

"...........Although more gamers may be playing online, they may not be clocking in more hours than they have before........ " This may just mean that people are creating more fake ID's.

NAWAF005
NAWAF005

i spend most of my time playing online games with my friends

melty3219
melty3219

god runescape sucks why are people still playing it?

Evil-Assassinz
Evil-Assassinz

wow i remember i used to be addicted to runescape when i was 10 and now look at it, people still play it.

KingOfTheNubeis
KingOfTheNubeis

EvE still in there,but thats got enough content fo a lifetime.

lhscouchmonster
lhscouchmonster

the reason people say to "get a life" is because playing hours of a mmo a day limits the amount of real life social interaction you have. mmos are just more time consuming than the average non-mmo. i played wow for 2 years and quitting was the best thing i ever did.

CoolKidX
CoolKidX

Its good to hear that RuneScape is doing better! They let you make a character which cant do sh*t until you pay!

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

its great to hear that Gunz is doing badly ^_^ hate that game >_>.....and Runescape.......pl0x die

dzfunk64
dzfunk64

Yes, it's nice to see all of Jagex's hard work to improve RuneScape is actually paying off. :) NuKkU, Some of those sites offer free mini-games, but the MMOs aren't free.

NuKkU
NuKkU

of course they are free

cjasko94
cjasko94

@smbius You still can. I go back and play nintendo 64 will my little brothers. yet we play online most of the time =P

Badd_Boi
Badd_Boi

This is some good news right thar...

waitaseck
waitaseck

It's nice to see Runescape is getting more and more successful. Online gaming ftw.

altair3feb
altair3feb

but... but :( @thetravman actually when people tell others get a life they really do have one because they know theirselves and they're confident of what they're saying... well that's what I think

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

Obviously online gaming is more addictive and fun so no doubt it would have increased , but what is more fun is when you are playing with a friend next to you

thetravman
thetravman

Anyone can make their own life. I find the people annoying who tells everyone to get a life. As if their's are so much better. -.-

smbius
smbius

I miss the good 'ol days when playing against/with friends right next to you as opposed to some stranger on the internet.

HotShot_SS
HotShot_SS

Well GSN won't let me join cause I'm black anyways.

brian_13un
brian_13un

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

abosh1
abosh1

haha runescape... lol

division_9
division_9

What the **** is this get a life bull****?, If I'm having more fun then those guys who are wasting their time telling people it then clearly I've got much more of a life worth living then them. Idiots, if they really had a life they wouldn't even come in contact with gamers because people who often have "great" lives have loads of freinds who which they hang out with because there "cool" and "up-to-date" with "everyone" and so their lives are completely opposite to that of a gamer's.

Twin-Blade
Twin-Blade

It's funny how people are saying get a life to those playing MMO games, which requires players to socially interact with others to succeed, while they sit in their rooms playing single player games. Playing with others vs playing with yourself. =P

Inconnux
Inconnux

online is the only way to go :) rarely do I enjoy single player games, playing against actually people is far more fun