If you do a quick Google search for statistics on the most played Facebook games of the past few months you'll come up with a few familiar names - FarmVille, Cafe World, Birthday Cards, Pet Society. All of these exist solely as social, online games that live in various social networks (although some are exclusive to Facebook).
What's really impressive is the stats attached to them: Farmville, for example, boasts over 75 million monthly active users. Compare that to Modern Warfare 2, arguably the biggest online console game of the moment which claims 25 million unique players across all platforms, and you can see how important these 'games' have become.
We've had dalliances with the likes of Pet Society and Mafia Wars for 'research purposes' and can see the obvious, addictive appeal - but we're not convinced they're for 'us'. So who the hell is playing these things?
A recent survey of players reveals that in the UK at least one particular demographic dominates - divorced or widowed.
That's right - the most active users of social games online are divorcees. The research also shows that women and large families play social games more than men.
Above: Who we now imagine is playing FarmVille. Might be inaccurate
So who stands to lose most in this shift to social games? Well given the demographic that has so wholeheartedly embraced them is women, families and divorcees, we'd say Nintendo - after all social gaming is free (or at least very cheap) and doesn't require the outlay of a console - plus, who isn't on Facebook these days?
18 March, 2010
Research from www.globalwebindex.net