US online game subs to double in 5 years

Americans who play online games generated $2.8 billion in subscription revenue in 2009, and stand to pay an annual $5 billion in game subscriptions by 2015, market research provider Pike & Fischer projects in a new report.

The number of online gaming paid subscribers, which totalled approximately 19.4 million at the end of last year, will more than double to 44.5 million by the end of 2014, P&F senior analyst Tim Deal forecasts. The increase in usage will result from the rise in digital distribution of online games as opposed to retail boxed sales, along with an increase in broadband adoption, Deal says.

Although the number of online game subscribers will increase, average monthly online game subscription fees will drop from approximately $12 in 2009 to about $9.50 in 2014. This decrease will be fuelled by increased competition, increased subscription volume, and better cost efficiencies — including an increase in digital distribution vs. retail packaged products, Deal says.

P&F says the increasing complexity of online gaming environments will heighten demand on broadband networks, giving Internet service providers an opportunity to boost revenues by adding higher-speed tiers for intense gamers.

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