Analysis of Americans' usage of online gaming sites showed that the category has grown 27 percent during the past year to 86 million visitors in December 2008, according to new research.
The total time spent playing online games has jumped 42 percent. Americans' total share of Internet time spent playing online games grew from 3.7 percent in December 2007 to 4.9 percent in December 2008 researcher comscore said on Wednesday.
Yahoo! Games ranked as the most visited site in the category with 19.5 million visitors (up 20 percent), followed by EA Online with 15.4 million visitors (up 21 percent), and Disney Games with 13.4 million visitors (up 13 percent). The tenth most visited site, Spil Games, saw traffic surge 269 percent to 6.7 million visitors.
It appears that online, ad-supported gaming is one of the activities that has benefited during this economic downturn, said Edward Hunter, comScore director of gaming solutions. Not only have consumers turned to outlets such as gaming to take their minds off the economy, but as they curtail their discretionary gaming-related purchases they are turning to free alternatives.