Free-to-Play Games market to reach $2 Billion by 2015

Posted: September 5, 2010 in mmotraffic

DFC Intelligence Forecasts English Language Free-to-Play Games to Reach $2 Billion

August 31, 2010San Diego, CA A new report from DFC Intelligence forecasts that the market for English language client-based free-to-play (F2P) games on the PC is expected to grow from about $250 million in 2009 to $2 billion by 2015.  This growth is largely due to widespread adoption of high-speed Internet connections combined with a growing willingness of consumers to buy digital content and improved payment options such as prepaid retail cards. The F2P market has been firmly established in Asia for many years.  According to DFC analyst Insun Yoon, “for many Korean companies the market in North America has not taken off nearly as fast as they expected.  Much of this can be attributed to the immature infrastructure and a lack of established payment and service mechanisms.  The good news is that this is starting to change and consumers are starting to realize that the game play of top high-end F2P games can be quite sophisticated.”

Most F2P games operate under a model where users can download and play a game for free and have the option to buy virtual goods or upgrade to a subscription package that opens additional play content.    “F2P games can have multiple payment options and most successful games look to bundle products in creative packages such as the ability to buy a monthly or annual subscription that include a set amount of virtual currency.  Creativity in marketing, packaging and distribution are the keys to generating increased revenue” said David Cole, an analyst at DFC.  By the end of 2010, it is expected that English language client based F2P games will have a combined total of 128 million registered users.  While this is not as high as many browser based games and games on social networks,  F2Ps have fairly high conversion rates. “Registered user numbers are a fairly meaningless metric in this market.  Once a consumer is able to get a game downloaded and running conversion rates for high-end F2P games tend to be fairly high,” says Yoon.

One major problem is that in North America and Europe it is still difficult for consumers to successfully install a large client.  In conjunction with Pando Networks, a game delivery services company, DFC is providing a separate report on Online Game Delivery.  This report shows that consumers in South Korea, Romania, Japan and Sweden have significantly higher download speeds than the rest of the world.  According to the Pando report, eight of the fastest 12 cities in the world are located in Korea.


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