Free-to-play, or "freemium", games have been all the rage for the past few years, especially on the PC and mobile platforms. Now a new survey from the NPD Group (via Joystiq) reveals that four out of 10 of gamers that play freemium titles end up paying for some kind of extra in-game content or expansion.
The survey, which was conducted online earlier in 2012 with 6,416 people participating, also indicated that 38 percent of the entire US population (age 2 and over) have played some kind of freemium game. Also, 84 percent of those who play free-to-play games decide to continue to play them after a trial period.
Females are more likely to keep playing freemium games than males, according to the survey. Not surprisingly, males aged 18 to 34 are more likely to stop playing such games after a trial period. The NPD Group's Anita Frazier states:
Males and those ages 18 to 34 are traditionally seen as a big part of the core gamer audience, so it's likely these groups are not quite as engaged with freemium because the gaming experience is quite different from what they are used to from the games they play on consoles, handhelds or PC's. At a minimum, for these gamers a freemium game would provide a different experience, like a snack versus a full meal.
The rise of free-to-play games continues unabated and may be part of the reason why the old fashioned retail game business is currently suffering from lower sales.