A new study by research and consulting firm Parks Associates indicates that the North American online game market will reach $4.4 billion by 2010.
By comparison, in 2005, the market was worth $1.1 billion.
The study also confirmed that PC gamers play longer than console, handheld and mobile gamers. PC gamers play 18.5 hours per week playing games, console users 13.6 hours, handheld 8.9 hours and mobile gamers 4.6 hours. According to the study, 70 percent of PC gamers play multiplayer online games.
Parks Associates, NPD Group and MMOGCHART.com will all be on hand at next week’s Austin Game Conference to delve deeper into the details of this and other studies.
Analysts expect online gaming’s growth to be driven by an increasing number of games that utilize online capabilities on PC, console, mobile and handheld platforms. An increasing amount of broadband connections will also facilitate online play.
All next-gen console manufacturers are pushing their respective system’s online service (Xbox Live, PlayStation Network Platform, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection) as major selling points, and the PSP and DS’ online capabilities are important to Sony and Nintendo’s handheld strategies.
In addition, advertisers’ interest in in-game advertising continues to rise as console games become more connected for online play.