02:53 PM
Connect Directly
Core System Testing: How to Achieve Success
Oct 06, 2016
Property and Casualty Insurers have been investing in modernizing their core systems to provide fl ...Read More>>

Online Gaming Is Booming, Not Boring

The number of unique visitors to online gaming sites grew 17% year over year to almost 217 million worldwide, according to a new ComScore survey.

Far from being bored to death, gaming enthusiasts appear to be thrilled with online gaming. The number of unique visitors to online gaming sites grew 17% year over year to almost 217 million worldwide, according to Internet metrics company ComScore.

Such figures seem at odds with the sentiment expressed by Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, who in a Wall Street Journal interview Monday lamented the lack of creativity in the gaming industry.

"We're boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play," he said.

Riccitiello's dour assessment of the computer gaming may be more of a reflection of his own company's performance than anything else. EA saw its number of monthly worldwide unique visitors, as measured by ComScore, drop from 30.5 million in May, 2006, to 21.2 million in May, 2007, a 30.5% decline.

While online traffic doesn't correlate directly to the company's game software sales, it does provide some sense of the broad troubles confronting EA, which failed to anticipate the popularity of Nintendo's Wii console and also faces escalating game production costs as a consequence of pursuing a Hollywood-style strategy of sequels and cinematic spectacle at the expense of quality writing and game play. (EA's Spore, to be released late this year or early next, represents an obvious exception.)

Outside of the big budget, hit-driven world of shrink-wrapped blockbusters, gaming continues to thrive.

"With one in four Internet users visiting a gaming site, playing games online is extremely popular," said Bob Ivins, executive VP and managing director of ComScore Europe, in a statement. "The fact that these Web sites are pulling in over a quarter of the total worldwide Internet population shows what a global phenomenon gaming has become."

What Riccitiello seems to have missed, or perhaps sees and doesn't want to admit, is that the gaming industry is moving to the software-as-a-service model. As a consequence, fewer computer users are likely to bother with expensive boxed games and the burden of downloading, installation, and maintenance. The popularity of online game sites like Yahoo Games (52.7 million unique visitors in May) and MSN Games (40.3 million) suggests that rather than licensing blockbuster properties like The Lord Of The Rings, gaming companies should aim lower and make sure they have the rights to titles like Pac Man and Tetris.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
While 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.