Free-to-play spending poised to become the majority in the US

City of Heroes

Free-to-play is on the rise -- we all knew that, but perhaps we didn't quite grasp how much it's gone up. Gamasutra reports that online players have boosted their F2P spending a whopping 24% this year over last, with F2P revenues cornering 47% -- versus 39% in 2010 -- of the MMO market in the US.

Analysts predict that we're on track to see $1.2 billion spent on free-to-play MMOs in 2011. This surge of F2P spending isn't just confined to North America, however. Europe, Asia, and other emerging countries already see a majority of MMO spending dedicated to F2P versus other business models.

The report states that US players spend 26 million hours daily in MMOs. Your average US player is 84% likely to be enjoying browser-based titles and 50% likely to be invested in a client-based game.

NewZoo CEO Peter Warman thinks 2012 will be a decisive year for F2P in more ways than one: "Recent lay-offs and the sudden death of LEGO Universe are serious warnings for the MMO games industry. Success will also strongly depend on how MMO companies extend their unique gameplay and IP across other game platforms, specifically mobile."