Core gamers are too busy playing FarmVille to knock it.

All it takes is a quick trip to an internet gaming forum to hear that social games are ruining videogames forever. The hardcore demographic may not be able to complain much longer, as a new study finds that the tastes of hardcore and casual gamers may be due to converge. Approximately one fifth of “core” gamers play titles produced by casual game behemoth Zynga, and the numbers are only going up from here.

The data comes by way of a report about Zynga player habits from gaming metrics company Raptr. Raptr measured how much time gamers spent playing games in a particular franchise as well as how many times per day they played. The results showed that while Zynga still has a ways to go to catch up with Halo or Call of Duty, people spend more time playing Ville games than Gears of War, Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, and Grand Theft Auto combined. Zynga games also generally produce higher “conversions,” or players who invest in the next game in the series.

While not all core gamers are Zynga-philes just yet, there is still a significant crossover. Games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends share up to 20% of their players with CityVille, and even Call of Duty: Black Ops has 12% of its demographic building cities on Facebook. A cross-section of Xbox Live gamers reveals that 30% of them play Zynga games, up from 20% only last year.

Even if Zynga’s profits haven’t been up to snuff lately, this study suggests that it may be able to win over hardcore gamers in addition to converting a non-gaming audience. All it needs is a sufficiently enticing crossover title. HaloVille, anyone?

Source: Raptr

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