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Web Observatoire – 4th Quarter 2016 : More Than Half of Internet Users Play Online Games


Who has never heard of Candy Crush, League of Legend or World of Warcraft? These games are popular with online gamers all over the world, whether played alone or on a network, and France is no exception. Indeed,  in the 4th quarter of 2016, more than half of web users ages 15 and over reported having played a free or paid online game in the past month. This total number has held steady as compared to last year, but contains disparities between the devices used, with a large rise in mobile game play. This, along with other data, is revealed in the latest wave of the Web Observatory study conducted by Médiamétrie. 

Web Observatoire  – 4th Quarter 2016 : More Than Half of Internet Users Play Online Games

The mobile platform is attracting an increasing number of players

A large percentage of Internet users favour free online games – 51% vs. 9% for paid games – and performance has remained stable since 2013.

For both free and paid games, the computer is still the device most commonly used to play online. However, the mobile platform, marked by growing use among young people, continues to rise in popularity with players. Nearly a quarter of players use mobile devices to play free games, a figure that is up 8 points since the 4th quarter of 2013. 

Free vs. paid games: Very different player profiles 

Behind these figures lie several different types of players: People who enjoy lotteries, contests, online gambling, paid network games and even Social Gamers, who play free games on social networks.

Players in the latter two categories have a very different profile: Paid network gaming enthusiasts are primarily men, young people (ages 15 to 34), in the upper socio-professional categories, and residents of the Paris region. Inversely, Social Gamers are mostly women, in the 35 and up age group, in lower socio-professional categories and residing outside of Paris.

eSports: A growing trend

And when players face off against one another in professional competitions, or simply friendly ones, the online game becomes a sport, or more precisely, an eSport, a phenomenon that’s catching on quickly. 45% of web users ages 15 and up have heard of eSports. Young people under the age of 35 and the upper socio-professional categories are the segments most familiar with this trend.

And among those in the know, nearly a quarter have watched an eSport tournament on the internet or on television. 


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