Twenty percent of total video game spending in the U.S. goes toward MMOs and game portals, primarily for monthly subscriptions and online credits, according to a new international study. Home and handheld consoles comprise 57 percent of the nation's gaming budget, including second-hand trade and digital distribution sales.
Market research firms TNS and Gamesindustry.com surveyed more than 13,000 respondents aged eight years and older across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the U.S. for release, titled "Today's Gamers Online Spending & Payments Report." The groups say they were able to calculate and analyze consumers' total gaming budgets based on information provided directly by the surveyed consumers.
The study's results show that in the U.S., mobile phones account for 3 percent of the country's total games spending, PC games account for 20 percent, consoles for 57 percent, massively multiplayer online titles for 9 percent, and game portals for 11 percent. The last two figures combine to form the 20 percent proportion for online games.
European markets, on average, send 15 percent of their gaming budgets to MMOs and portals, with individual nations seeing the following proportions: Netherlands (18 percent), Germany (16 percent), Belgium (16 percent), UK (12 percent) and France (10 percent).
Console game spending dominates all of those countries as well: Netherlands (51 percent), Germany (45 percent), Belgium (55 percent), UK (64 percent) and France (66 percent).
The full breakdown of gaming budgets for all six territories in the graph follows (click for a larger version):
Stateside respondents who spend money on game portals and MMOs typically spend most of their money on monthly subscriptions (53 percent) and online credits (56 percent). Survey participants from Germany (42 percent), Belgium (46 percent), and France (57 percent) also reported a high percentage of consumers buying online credits.
In the U.S. (58 percent), UK (46 percent), and Belgium (46 percent), gamers prefer to make their purchases on game portals with a credit card. The second most popular payment method in these countries is an online payment account. The survey results also also showed that MMO players prefer using prepaid cards (8 percent in the U.S.) more than game portal gamers.
German respondents like using online payment accounts more than any other system, and also like using premium SMS services. In France, paying by phone is most popular, followed by online payment accounts. All of the European markets, with the exception of Germany, scored bank cards (e-banking) "reasonably well."
"Worldwide we have seen very strong growth in alternative payment systems over the last few years and we expect the total value of the online payments for games to double in next two to three years," said Jan Manten, CEO of international payments service provider Global Collect.
He added, "Most companies we talk to want a whole range of local payment methods, customized for every country they operate in. This is now possible and offers online publishers a huge international potential as multiple payment methods also increase conversion rates."