Today is a big day for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, with the launch of a new Canadian game industry sizzle video and the release of its annual guidebook to the entertainment software industry, ESAC 2010 Essential Facts (PDF). In this report, readers can find updated stats on the average age of the Canadian gamer, frequency of play, gender breakdown, preferred platforms and ways to play. The report also provides data on how online play, social games and mobile games are changing the gaming landscape. This annual publication also features relevant data about ESRB ratings awareness, family gaming and top selling games. Finally, Essential Facts gives an overview of the Canadian entertainment software industry with data on jobs, growth rate and annual contributions to the Canadian economy.
The 2010 Essential Facts reveals that 39% of gamers (defined as someone who has played video games in the past 4 weeks) are spending more time playing games accessible through social networking websites.
Also of note is the fact that 7% of gamers use a mobile device (such as a cell phone or smart phone) most often to play video games – almost twice as many as in 2009 (4%). Gamers are also connecting their games with others through the Internet with 76% reporting online play.
“Social games are a growing part of the Canadian gamer’s repertoire – especially for women and teen girls – but they are only one of the many types of games that Canadians enjoy,” says Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “While we’re seeing a shift in how Canadians are playing games particularly towards online games, console and computer games remain the principal way to play,” she adds.
Social games are mostly free, widely available and accessible through social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. These games – including popular ones like Farmville, Mafia Wars and Cafe World – are quick to load, take only a few minutes to play and grow virally as users invite their contacts to join in. Research found that 35% of adult women and 37% of teen girls play social games. 26% of girls (6-12yo) play social games, with 38% report spending more time playing these types of games.
The research was collected through a comprehensive Internet survey using NPD Group’s Online Consumer Panel. Data was obtained from over 3,500 Canadians across the country identified as having played a video game at least once in the past 4 weeks. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.