According to a new report released from game market analysts at NewZoo, surveys of massive multiplayer online gamers in America show that 14 million of them prefer the science fiction genre of games.
The real question is how many of those potential 14 million players would actually pay something to play the game. This is answered by the NewZoo data regarding free to play (F2P) versus pay to play (P2P) models.
“The majority of American SciFi MMO gamers only goes for F2P: 68% compared to 16% for P2P,” says the report. The 16% leftover play both models. So most prefer free games, but that doesn’t answer the question of how many would pay anyway.
The report shows that gamers, when put to the test, for the most part are not paying for their Sci-Fi games. Currently, there are about 4.5 million P2P gamers in the U.S. The report, however, shows that the number of total potential paying players in F2P Sci-Fi could actually meet or surpass that number of subscription-based players altogether.
The report, however, is mixed and it’s hard to extrapolate their definition of what an MMO game really is. The report itself is over a thousand Euro to purchase (about $1,000 USD), so it’s beyond the budget of most reporters like myself who can only glean what’s given as press releases and sample pages.
An infographic at NewZoo does shed a little light, however. According to it, of the 145 million active gamers in the U.S., the vast majority are casual gamers playing games on Facebook and similar sites. Two more large chunks are console and social gamers while mobile gamers aren’t far behind those. The actual number of MMO gamers is 52 million while the average gamer plays on about 4 platforms.
In fact, of the game platforms used by players, MMOs are actually the smallest being beat by nearly 20 million by boxed games (PC/Mac) and download games (PC/Mac, 73 million).
Using the numbers available, then, we can see that there are 52 million MMO players, using NewZoo’s definition of massive multiplayer online, which is basically any game in which more than one participant is playing simultaneously. Given that 52 million players are online, the fact that 14 million of them (about 1/3) are into science fiction is nothing to shake a stick at.
How many of those 14 million can a game like SWTOR realistically expect to have playing and, more importantly, paying? Assuming that Star Wars TOR is able to get half of the Sci-Fi gamers interested (7 million), then using the numbers above, we can see that they’ll get 1.12 million paying players (16%).
Those are actually pretty good numbers.