It seems that our compatriots on the Internet, that had until recently considered "gaming" to be for the nerds are finally catching the fever. Yahoo is reporting that in the current economic climate the gaming population is growing 10 times faster than the Internet population. And a whopping 22% increase from last year. I figured out long ago that gaming was actually a much cheaper form of entertainment than nearly anything else, and great fun to boot. Unfortunately for the gaming industry, I'm one of the millions that plays just one game at a time and usually a single MMO to the exclusion of everything else. So they don't make a great deal of money off me year to year. Back before MMOs when PC or Console games were hotly anticipated people would rush out to buy the latest offering, blow through it and then wait for the next game to be released. Gamers could easily spend more than one or two hundred dollars a month buying all the hyped games.
Now there is serious competition from the online MMO community and many gamers have abandoned the frantic pace of PC/Console game purchases. Where once they might have spent more than a hundred dollars a month on gaming, they now spend $14.99 on an MMO subscription each month. Yahoo reports that many of these new gamers are currently playing free-to-play games, but it's probably a realistic expectation to see a portion of them graduate to other PC/Console games or MMOs at some point.
The influx of new gamers is testament to the glut of new free-to-play MMOs (traditional PC installs and Browser games) that have been released in recent months, or are currently in development (see MMORPG.com). Unfortunately where there is money, there is also fraud. In the never ending quest for your dollars, how long will it take the RMT community to pursue those new gamers? For one such company, that pursuit has already begun apparently.
[update] Another good article about Evony/Civony