Video Game Industry Drawing In Users With Free Versions

Influencing people to buy things in times of economic hardship ain’t easy, but the video game industry has figured out how to lure reluctant shoppers: Freebies! By offering free versions of their games, video game marketers are drawing in users from unlikely demographic areas, namely, women and the elderly.

Reuters reports on the phenomenon, citing the fact that around a third of gamers out there aren’t paying a cent on mobile and online games like “Bejeweled Blitz,” “Treasure Isle” or multi-player games like “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″ at their friends’ homes.

But once these players get hooked on the games they like, they’re more likely to turn into paying customers.

“The shift toward online business models servicing a broader range of target groups started before the recession and has resulted in continued growth through the rough economic times in terms of revenues,” said Peter Warman, managing director and founder of Newzoo. “The platforms offering free-to play-gaming options like massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, mobile games and casual game portals lare successfully converting players to payers.”

And who is the most interested in free, fun things! The ladies and older people!

“These free options are definitely broadening the appeal of video games among older and female demographics, and a lot of these consumers don’t actually consider themselves gamers at all,” Michael Cai, vice president of video game research, Interpret. “Without casual gaming portals like Pogo, Real Networks, and Big Fish Games, many older female gamers would have never paid for gaming content.”

Now that I know I’m being lured in in such a calculated way, I’m totally going to stop stacking multi-colored jewels atop each other in an effort to make them disappear. Who am I kidding? No I’m not! Kudos to you, video game industry!

Gameworld: Free games lure new players including women, elderly [Reuters]