The recession has been pummeling the living daylights out of the tech industry for almost a year now, and even industries that were once considered “immune” are starting to feel the pinch. Last month both hardware and software game sales slipped a combined 31 percent to $1.2 billion, down from $1.7 billion during the same period in 2008. This unfortunate milestone marks the fourth month in a row of year-over-year declines, and unfortunately for developers, there seems to be no end in sight. To add insult to injury, June’s numbers represent the worst decline since September 2000 when the industry shed over 41 percent. Gaming hardware is defiantly leading the decline with a 38 percent plunge, but software at 29 percent isn’t far behind.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the gaming industry however, and as we noted last week Casual gaming is on the rise. "Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year growing at ten times the rate of the total U.S. Internet population and reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users," said Edward Hunter, comScore director of gaming solutions.
So have you been doing your part to bail out the gaming industry? Or is everyone just playing a two year old shared copy of Peggle?
When it comes to computer games, you don't have to pay to play, and we're not talking about software piracy. Instead, an increasing number of online gamers are discovering free or low cost casual games which, according to comScore, has seen "significant" growth in the past year.
"Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year growing at ten times the rate of the total U.S. Internet population and reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users," said Edward Hunter, comScore director of gaming solutions. "And the growth in the category is occurring not only at the top gaming destination sites, but also through viral distribution platforms, including widgets and applications. In fact, some online gaming companies that distributed their games across sites are reaching as many people as the top online gaming sites."
In May of 2009, online gaming claimed 87 million U.S. visitors, an increase of 22 percent over one year ago. Yahoo Games edged out EA Online in claiming the most visitors, but no matter where the online portals ranked in terms of visitors, many of them have seen big growth. GSN Games Networks, for example, isn't in the top 10 but still managed to grow a whopping 563 percent to 6 million visitors.
If you're a male gamer who has been looking for love in all the wrong places, it might be because you're spending too much time playing MMOs. Or, depending on your fantasy woman, maybe that's exactly what you should be doing. You see, not only is nearly half of the Everquest II gaming population female, but they're apparently much more likely to be bisexual than non-EQ II players, online surveys suggest.
According to no less than 2,400 completed web-based surveys, females account for 40 percent of the EQ II gaming community. The surveys also found that female EQ II players display "an unusually high level of bisexuality," more than five times that of the "general population."
"These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes," said lead researcher Scott Caplan. "I think what you would find in this population are going to be people who are in other ways less traditional than the majority population."
The respondents received an in-game item in exchange for completing a web-based questionnaire about their gaming habits and lifestyles, which has led some to question to the validy of the results.
A computer worm primarily targeted at online gamers has found a very odd prey in form of the International Space Station. NASA confirmed last week that a computer worm had boarded the International Space Station and infected at least one laptop. Fortunately, though, none of the mission-critical systems were affected by the password-grabbing worm. NASA hasn’t revealed the name of the worm, but a website says that it is W32.Gammima.AG. Most of you might find the entire episode quite surprising and amusing, but the folks at NASA seem to be inured to computer worms aboard the ISS because this is not the first such instance.