ArcadeWeb Survey: Who Is the Online Casual Tournament Gamer?
IRVINE, Calif., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — ArcadeWeb, a highly trafficked gaming site, today released key findings from its national user survey, designed to provide the first insight into a new, growing type of online gamer: the casual tournament player. While numerous industry studies have been devoted to the “online casual gamer,” ArcadeWeb’s findings are the first to shed light on the “who’s,” “what’s” and “why’s” of this new breed of casual gamer who embraces a distinct, new online platform where he/she can compete to win real cash prizes, rather than purchasing virtual currency to win virtual rewards.
“While virtual-currency-driven ‘freemium’ is by far the most dominant casual gaming model, the industry needs to better understand the many new and different models that are emerging, as well as the profile and behavior of the consumers they attract,” said Adriano Parotta, VP, Social Games, ArcadeWeb. “The amount of time-spent-gaming by casual tournament players revealed by our survey suggests it’s a very interesting model to watch. Clearly, adding competitive, social, and real-rewards components to casual gaming leads to greater gamer engagement and site ‘stickiness.’”
ArcadeWeb.com, which attracts 3.4 million monthly unique visitors, features distinct “pure” casual gaming and casual tournament communities, so the demographics and behavior of each population could be compared. Nearly 3,000 active gamers at the site participated in the surveys: 1,435 tournament players and 1,486 traditional casual gamers.
Who Is the Casual Tournament Gamer?
“Mid” Age is Tournament Sweet Spot
The survey revealed that casual tournament gamers fall heavily into the middle of the age spectrum: nearly half (44%) are between ages 35-54, with the largest percentage (24%) falling in the 45-54 age group. Just 17% are over 55, and 16% are under 24. Traditional casual gamers surveyed, conversely, were more likely to occupy the upper and lower ends of the age spectrums: 30% are under 24, while 31% are over 55.
Woman-Dominated Competition: While one might imagine competitive tournament gaming would skew male, the gender breakdown for both traditional casual gamers and casual tournament players was exactly the same: 66% female and 34% male.
Gender Breakdown Same for Tournament and Casual Gamers Female Gamers 66% Male Gamers 34%
Northeast – the Casual Tournament “Mecca”
The survey also breaks down casual tournament gamers by region: Southeast (28%), Northeast (27%), Midwest (19%), West (15.5%) and Northwest (9.5%). When comparing those numbers to regional U.S. population figures, the Northeast (population roughly 55 million) with its denser population of tournament gamers, actually trumps the Southeast (population 78 million) as the casual tournament gaming “capitol,” while the western states lag behind.
“Sticky” Casual Tournament Gaming
The survey compared time-spent-gaming for traditional casual versus casual tournament gamers, and revealed how social, competing-for-cash elements lead to far greater gamer engagement and site “stickiness.”
For instance, roughly 44% more tournament players than “regular” casual gamers report playing over six hours a week at ArcadeWeb.com. And while 30% of the site’s “regular” casual gamers report playing less than an hour a week at the site, only 10% of tournament players do. More than two in three (67%) tournament players report playing 3+ hours a week at the site – and, as a point of comparison, the average Facebook user spends roughly an hour and twenty minutes at that notoriously sticky site weekly.
Time-Spent-Playing: Casual Tournament vs. Traditional Casual Gamer <1 hour 1hr+ 3 hrs+ 6 hrs+ 10 hrs+ Casual Tournament 10% 90% 67% 39% 23% Traditional Casual 30% 70% 48% 27% 16% More than two-thirds of tournament gamers play 3 hrs+ while less than half of traditional casual gamers do.
Older tournament gamers surveyed play the most: 23% of those aged 55-64 report spending an astounding 20+ hours each week playing/competing at ArcadeWeb. And 35% of tournament gamers aged 55-64 spend 10+ hours gaming at the site, more than twice the percentage of tournament players aged 18-34 (16.5%).
Winnings Go to Necessities
Tournament casual gamers weighed in on how they’re using their cash winnings, and rather than a “casino jackpot” mentality, 80% report spending them on “basic necessities,” with 26% reporting they have used winnings to buy groceries, and 24% to pay bills.
“There are now many alternatives to the virtual currency purchasing/rewards model in casual gaming, including sites like ArcadeWeb, Gamesville, Pogo or iWon!, which revolve around free casual tournaments and cash prizes,” noted Parotta. “If the virtual currency model can become mainstream entertainment, I would bet that diverse ‘real money’ models will have an even more powerful future in the casual space. Our new findings shed some light on the fast-growing casual tournament gaming segment – and, in general, the profile, behavior and motivations of distinct, new groups of casual gamers need to be better understood.”
ArcadeWeb also recently released survey findings revealing that the current economy is having a powerful impact on people’s time spent playing casual games. To access those, click here.
Launched in mid-2011, ArcadeWeb has rapidly become one of the largest, most highly-trafficked gaming sites on the Web, and is one of the only sites to offer hundreds of free casual games, and a chance for gamers to compete in daily tournaments to win real cash prizes. The site awards up to $50,000 every month in cash prizes to its users. McAfee-, Verisign- and TRUSTe-certified, ArcadeWeb guarantees complete gamer privacy protection.
 The site has roughly 570,000 registered casual tournament-playing members, who log onto the site at the start of each game-play to compete for daily cash prizes.
 Conducted in February-March 2012
 U.S. Census data, 2011
 Facebook data, March 2012