50% of Those “Amenable” to Gaming Use Facebook to Play

According to Marketing Week, about two out of every five Facebook users play games on the social networking site every month, which means approximately 200 million people globally.

Yesterday, Marketing Week reported on a survey by TNS Global that asked 7,500 people across six countries – who are ‘amenable to gaming’ – about their playing habits, and discovered that 50% use Facebook to play games.

In the UK (where 1,250 people from the TNS study are based), Facebook is the dominant social platform, and has now become a “central destination” for gaming. Gaming is currently the 4th most popular activity for UK Facebook users (behind looking at photos, updating profiles, and chatting with friends).

More than 40% of people who play games on social media sites say they prefer a central hub, such as Facebook, for playing games. This has rapidly drawn the attention of developers, who are determined to keep users on the page, presenting a valuable opportunity for brands to get involved in social media gaming. Facebook has already begun to monetize social gaming on the site through Facebook Credits, which gamers can use to obtain extra features on games.

Two popular examples are the game FarmVille – where users look after virtual farms – which has more than 55 million users and was the most popular game on Facebook until the recent release of Cityville, which now boasts 84 million active users (as reported by Online Social Media). Nearly 22 million of Cityville’s active users joined in a period of just one week at the end of 2010.

Social network users like to play, but they aren’t doing so to make new friends – only 13% cite this as the reason for playing. It’s more about playing with and challenging existing friends, and Marketing Week reports that Facebook ‘claims’ all of their future games will be social, or played with friends.

While Farmville and Cityville (both by Zynga) are free games, Rumbi Pfende, head of RealGames UK, believes that users will spend more time playing games on social networks if they’ve paid for them – users will want to stay on the page and get their money’s worth, which is good news for advertisers. Men (32%) are significantly more likely than women (14%) to spend money on social network gaming.

See the Marketing Week article for more details and data charts.