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Social Gaming Poses Serious Problem for Gaming Industry

woman playing farmville
Those of you... okay, those of us who rushed to the nearest Gamestop (or just got online) to throw $60 at 'StarCraft II' the day it dropped are not the future of the video game industry. According to a recent report from NPD Group, one in five Americans over the age of six has played games on a social network within the last 90 days, while spending less than the average on video games overall. Of the 56.8 million people who were partaking in 'Mafia Wars' and its ilk, 35-percent were completely new to video games. (Yes, we mean they had never played a video game before -- ever.)

These new gamers are overwhelmingly female, and are typically older than those who have been playing since the Atari days. This new demographic would constitute great news for gaming companies if it weren't for one alarming detail: only 11-percent of social gamers say they plan to spend money on such entertainment. Additionally, respondents reported spending 20-percent less on games than they had before playing social networking games. With spending in decline, and an apparently unreliable model for future revenues, companies are going to have to evolve or face an uncertain future, wherein 'FarmVille' is more important than 'Grand Theft Auto,' and neither can make any money.

Tags: Facebook games, FacebookGames, farmville, gaming, mafia wars, MafiaWars, social gaming, SocialGaming, top, web, Zynga