It's a good thing we all have so much money, because a new study by GameStrata has found that videogamers drop more than 30 grand on their hobby over their peak gaming years.
GameStrata, which provides statistical data for the videogame industry as well as online tools for leaderboards, player rankings and other information for gamers, said North American game enthusiasts will spend more than $30,500 dollars on videogames and gaming hardware during their "peak gaming years," which the survey pegged at 18-48.
The study also found strong and growing interest in online content, with the "vast majority of respondents" saying they prefer to do most of their gaming online with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
"With forecasters estimating this year's sales will reach nearly $23 billion, it's clear that gaming is the fastest-growing sector in the entertainment industry," said GameStrata COO Barry Dorf. "The best part is that the trend doesn't show any signs of slowing. In spite of predictions of a sluggish economy, gamers continue to invest their time and money into electronic entertainment."
Increasing acceptance of microtransactions is also a "notable trend," with 85 percent of respondents saying they've made at least one purchase of a virtual item in the last month. Participation in social networks was found to increase the likelihood of the purchase of online goods, as gamers who see their online friends updating their systems and software are more likely to do the same for themselves. The report also noted that with 40 percent of gamers reporting online play of 6-10 hours per week, a "simple, easy to navigate online infrastructure" is as important to the success of a console as the hardware itself.
"The survey results show that social networks need only adapt to the persistent and competitive elements of any genre to penetrate its user base," Dorf said. "The viability of future gaming-centric social networks is very strong."