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Ongoing Shift to US Online Free Gaming Sites


Consumer use of free online gaming sites are more popular than ever. And, that usage could be a new upside revenue opportunity for advertisers.

Gaming web sites racked up 27 percent more unique visits and 42 percent more total playing time in December 2008 than in December 2007, according to comScore. Overall Internet traffic grew only 4 percent over the same period.

comScore's measurements highlight the ongoing shift from high-cost, console-based gaming toward free, browser-based alternatives.

In 2008 MTV Networks surveyed free online gamers regarding the types of advertising they were willing to accept in exchange for playing such games. Banner ads and advertiser-sponsored games got the highest responses, at 47 and 42 percent, respectively.

comScore also found that the total number of display ad views in the online gaming category grew 29 percent from November 2007 to November 2008, to 8.6 billion. This increase is attributed primarily to the growing number of advertising-exposed unique visitors to the category, which were up 30 percent over the same period.

The average consumer's exposure remained relatively constant at 127 ad views in November 2008. The survey also found the number of display ads per page viewed declined 17 percent.

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