Americans who play online games like "World of Warcraft" and "EverQuest" generated $2.8 billion in subscription revenue in 2009, and are on track to pay an annual $5 billion in game subscriptions by 2015, according to a new report by market research firm Pike & Fischer.
The number of online gaming paid subscribers, which totaled 19.4 million at the end of last year, will more than double to 44.5 million by the end of 2014. The increase in usage will be driven by the rise in digital distribution of online games as opposed to retail boxed sales, along with an increase in broadband adoption.
"Established franchises such as 'World of Warcraft,' 'EverQuest,' and 'Dungeons and Dragons Online' continue to create new game content in order to retain existing subscribers, while introducing new generations of gamers to their platforms," said Tim Deal, Pike & Fischer senior analyst. "The amount of online play is escalating rapidly."
While the number of online game subscribers will increase, average monthly online game subscription fees will drop from $12 in 2009 to about $9.50 in 2014. This decrease will be fueled by increased competition, increased subscription volume and better cost efficiencies.
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.