New data from a survey
by market research firm Newzoo found that 47.5 million Americans play persistent online games, but console gaming remains more popular with nearly 120 million players.
The research firm said that of the total amount of American 'MMO' gamers, 12.5 million play "pay-to-play" MMOs that require an upfront charge, like Blizzard's World of Warcraft
. Between free-to-play and pay-to-play, there is an overlap of 4.5 million players -- or 9 percent of total U.S. online gamers -- that play both types of games.
The large majority of free-to-play online gamers in the U.S. never pay extra money on virtual items, the main revenue generator for many "free-to-play" games, according to the report. Total U.S. persistent online game revenues stand at $2.28 billion, Newzoo said, up 30 percent from 2009.
By comparison, German persistent online game revenues stand 435 million euros ($586.9 million) with 10.6 million MMO gamers; the UK has revenues of £220 million ($349.5 million) with 8.8 million online gamers.
France has revenues of 244 million euros ($329.2 million) with 8.5 million persistent online gamers; the Dutch MMO market has revenues of 30 million euros ($40.5 million) with 1.65 million online gamers; and Belgium has 27 million euros ($36.4 million) with 1.2 million online gamers.
While the U.S. has the most persistent online game players, console games remain even more popular, with almost 120 million players. But there is notable overlap between console gaming and online gaming.
Newzoo said in a statement, "Fifty-seven percent of Microsoft Xbox 360 players also play MMOs, 61 percent for the PlayStation 3. More than half of these people also spend money on MMOs, confirming the appeal to the 'core' gaming audience."
The study also found that in the U.S., 66 percent of all online game players over the age of 10 are male. Fifty-two percent of online game players are over the age of 25 in the country.
"In Europe, where the free-to-play model is hugely popular, paying MMO gamers are significantly younger," read a statement from Newzoo. Europe has 7.6 million MMO free-to-play MMO gamers out of the total 8.5 million.
Graphs below are courtesy of Newzoo: