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BizReport : Internet : September 03, 2010

Almost every U.S. child age 8+ plays games online

A nationwide survey in the U.S. found that just about every child plays games online and that these games wield more influence on them than any other media. Despite this, investment in the space remains low.

by Helen Leggatt

Online childhood appears to start at the tender age of eight. At least that's what a recent report from M2 Research concludes. "The Kids and Games: What Boys and Girls are Playing Today" found 91% of tween (age 8-11) boys and 93% of tween girls play games online.

Tweens tend to gravitate toward games that have strong brands, like Disney, and that are marketed on television. Instead of playing just one or two games, tweens are more inclined to try out lots of different titles.

"We have found kids tend to play a wide variety of games, and their favorite games and gaming sites change often," said Louise Curcio, the M2 Research analyst who led the report. "There are opportunities for companies, and we believe the kids market has been overlooked."

As tweens move into their teens (age 12-15) their choice of game changes. Facebook becomes their top online gaming destination, particularly for teenage girls, even though the lower age limit is 13, while titles such as "World of Warcraft" begin to appear on the favorite lists of teen boys.

"The data definitely shows that kids are influenced by video games, probably more than any other media, yet we did an analysis specifically for online gaming, and found that total investment in online games for kids is quite lower than what's been historically invested - Club Penguin was pretty much half of the total investment in the kids space," Wanda Meloni, contributing author to the report, told Gamasutra.

"Companies have been slow to realize that this is a very strong market, and kids have a good deal of influence, and know what they want."

Tags: kids, online games, teens, tweens, video games

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