A study found that countries perceived as "low-priority" markets in the games industry, such as Brazil and Russia, are reaching parity with major Western markets thanks to increased online and social spend.
The 2011 National Gamers Surveys, conducted by international market research firm Newzoo and sponsored by GlobalCollect, surveyed more than 20,000 people in Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Spain, the US, and key EU countries, and covered the majority of gaming platforms, from console and PC to mobile and online casual games.
The results revealed that an average of 50 percent of consumers who play games actually spend money on games. The number of people actively playing games ranges from 16 million in Mexico to 35 million in Brazil to 38 million in Russia. The study found that two-thirds of the total game budget in the surveyed regions was spent online.
The research also noted that, for the first time, online, downloaded, and mobile games spending passed total retail boxed sales in Western countries.
"Low-priority" emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia are growing at a huge rate, the survey noted. It was found that 75 percent of the active internet population in these countries play games -- in fact, more spend time on computers than watching television.
Peter Warman, CEO and co-founder of Newzoo, said in a statement to Gamasutra, "Everyone in the games industry has a gut feeling that the new online and mobile free-to-play business models are accelerating growth in emerging markets, not only in number of players but also in money spent."
"It is exciting to finally see concrete numbers on these markets, and being able to benchmark these with Western countries as well as zoom in on who is actually spending and what they are buying."