Gaming over social networks like Facebook and MySpace has grown in recent years, and among US residents, it's especially grown among older gamers.
A recent study by PopCap looking at social network sites found 24 percent of the members use them to play games. PopCap estimates about 100 million players are active on social networks, in the US, these players are predominantly over the age of 40, and in the UK, players are predominantly between the ages of 30 and 40.
Social games were less popular among the youth, with casual gamers under 21 ranking at just 9 percent in the UK and 4 percent in the US respectively. UK gamers in their 20's are significantly more likely to play social games than US gamers, with 22 percent of UK social gamers being in their twenties, twice the amount of US gamers in the same age group. The study also indicated that more women are playing social games than men, with 58 percent of the respondents in the UK and 54 percent in the US being female.
Comparisons aside, what does this say? More female and older gamers are being attracted to the simpler social network-based games, though in the UK the ages are lower, possibly reflecting less acceptance of the new technology among older generations. Overall, this is not particularly surprising, given that the mainstream focus tends to be geared towards men in their early twenties with popular titles like Assassin's Creed and God of War. Looking at these numbers, it seems there are plenty of people willing to game, but they tend to gravitate towards games that cater more to their tastes. Not too surprising, all things considered.