Almost a fifth of consumers are indulging in a little social gaming online, according to a new report, which says the sector is valued at around $1bn.
According to Econsultancy's research based on the response of 2,000 consumers, online social gaming has become more mainstream and the typical profile of the average casual gamer ‘does not reflect the stereotype of the traditional, hard-core console gamer'.
The survey discovered a fairly even split between the genders when it comes to playing social games, as some 20percent of women are social gamers, compared to 18 percent of men.
It also found that social games are played frequently with almost a third of gamers playing a game several times a day and just over a quarter playing a few times a week.
Around a fifth of social gamers have paid real money to play a chosen social game, while just over a fifth have forked out cash for virtual goods- with men more likely to pay for such virtual extras, according to the report.
Econsultancy's research manager, Aliya Zaidi, said: "Gaming is one of those sectors that has emerged from the social media landscape and is now showing rapid growth, thanks to the explosion of social networking technologies.
"The social gaming space is exciting because even in its relative infancy, it has shown itself to be highly profitable and to deliver strong return on investment, largely thanks to the sale of virtual goods and currency. The sector is an attractive area of investment for forward-thinking marketers."