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NPD: 40% of freemium players pay for in-game upgrades
NPD: 40% of freemium players pay for in-game upgrades
April 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose

April 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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The latest report from the NPD Group has found that 40 percent of people who have played an upgradable freemium game have made an in-game payment to extend or enhance the experience.

The Insights into the Freemium Games Market report, which surveyed over 6,000 individuals including both children and adults, notes that women and girls are "significantly more likely" to play freemium games than men, yet are less likely than men to pay.

The NPD Group says that around 38 percent of the U.S. population currently plays some form of freemium gaming, with the majority of those players who opt to pay doing so within the first month of playing a particular game.

Therefore, says the NPD's Anite Frazier, it is important for developers to consider features that drive quick conversion to pay for players.

Elsewhere in the report, the group says that only 15 percent of gamers who are aware of freemium games choose not to play them, while a notable 84 percent of gamers who try freemium gaming will then stick with it.

However, while females are more likely to continue playing a freemium game after the initial try, males aged 13 to 34 are most likely to abandon freemium gaming entirely after trying it.

Frazier said that this is down to this age group for males being traditionally a large part of the core gamer audience, and therefore is less likely to find themselves engaged by freemium games, as they are quite different to what they expect from games.

"At a minimum, for these gamers a freemium game would provide a different experience, like a snack versus a full meal," she said.


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Comments


Zan Toplisek
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Very true "Frazier said that this is down to this age group for males being traditionally a large part of the core gamer audience, and therefore is less likely to find themselves engaged by freemium games, as they are quite different to what they expect from games.

"At a minimum, for these gamers a freemium game would provide a different experience, like a snack versus a full meal," she said."

Megan Swaine
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I always think of it like the difference between watching television, and going to the theater to pay to watch a film. I like both of those things, but they are fundamentally different experiences.

I wish this article included a link to the actual study, though.

Moses Wolfenstein
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It makes sense on a surface level, but it depends on where you draw the line for what freemium games are. Obviously most FB games don't fit the core market, but games like Tribes:Ascend and League of Legends are built on a freemium model, and yet are exactly the types of games core gamers expect out of the medium. Needless to say, they don't represent the majority of the freemium market, but I guess I'm just trying to say that this is an interesting time to take this sort of measurement as I think things might be in flux at current.

Joe McGinn
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Valve has said as much, Moses ... their payment rate is over 10x a typical Facebook game, which is normally well under 5% of players ever paying. The only reason I can think of why they didn't separate the data along these two lines is you have to pay for the real goods. Which is fine - they are a business, nothing wrong with charging for intel - but this article is almost worse than useless, creating and out-of-context factoid for people to use in invalid arguments.

Joe McGinn
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Without a breakdown between Facebook and core gaming free-to-play, these stats are utterly meaningless.

Jeremie Sinic
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The lack of visibility on the genre pushes many of those 18 to 34 males to give up on freemium because so far the majority of the experiences are not adapted to hardcore gamers' tastes, while other demographics whose expectations and tastes are not influenced by traditional gaming tend to be more receptive to the model.

It all depends on how games are designed. Frankly, Freemium of F2P or whatever doesn't mean much in itself, since it includes a blend of pay-to-win games, games that simply lock most interesting features/items behind paywalls, and games that put more emphasis on skills (like LoL).

So indeed, it would be nice to get data on the types of purchases freemium hardcore gamers make.

Timothy Korecky
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@Megan: The link to the original article is https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/pressreleases/pr_120423a

@Joe: I've reached out to NPD to see if they can provide additional information on the survey used as well as the derived results. If I receive any further information I will update here.

Megan Swaine
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Thanks!

Rodrigo Ferreira
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I love both of the game styles, freemium games may pass the feeling that you are in disadvantage when you start playing, but this opnion change a little bit when you start to buy some stuffs, like in Battlefield Heroes. I say: don't start a freemium play if u are not willing to spend some cash, with only a few bucks you can have the double of fun (or the half of suffering ^^). \o/


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