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Playing board games online - 2012 Survey - Board Game Arena

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Do adaptations of board games online change the way we play, and if so, how? …

Do adaptations of board games online change the way we play, and if so, how?

This study is based on an online survey hosted from the 7th to the 14th of June 2012 on the Board Game Arena website (BGA).

The study shows that online play for board games proves to be in almost every respect complementary wiith other gaming activities.

When online, we don't play the same way, or with the same people than we do in real life, since online play is indeed essentially a means to make do with a lack of available opponents when we wish to play.

Online play is closely intertwined with « live » gaming, but it doesn't mean to and can never substitute itself to it since it lacks something essential : our friends around the table. In this, online play is very different and complementary to touch enabled tablets, around which we can invite people over.

For all these reasons, online play is mainly used as an extension of the gaming experience that is created by the « physical » game that we play « live » with friends at some other time. One other really interesting thing about online board games sites is discovering new games. Then, the urge to play a game discovered online within one's circle of friends becomes a trigger to buy the box in a very signigificant number of events.

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  • 1. Playing board games online Do adaptations of board games online change the way we play, and if so, how? Juin 2012
  • 2. Who plays online? « In real life, you are: » 26% : a hardcore gamer 57% : a gamer 16,5% : a casual gamer 0,2% : I dont play games in real lifeOnline demographics seem to corroborate aclassic image of board game players:_ They are mostly men (79 %)._ Between 25 and 35 years old (48%).Online though, there seems to be mostlyhardcore and regular gamers. Case in point: themore we play in real life, the more we play onlinetoo. Players at a game table on BGA
  • 3. With whom do we play? « Online, most of your opponents are: » 11,5% : players who play with you in real life on a regular basis 7,5% : players you know, but dont play very often with you in real life 81% : strangersUsing online play to have a game with friendsliving afar: it happens. But a very large majority ofpeople play with internet users they dont know.Its a choice by default: we play with strangersbecause our friends are not available, or not in asufficient number. Also, the more we play online,the more we play with people we dont know inreal life (90% for hardcore gamers) Dominion (Rio Grande Games) on BGA
  • 4. Which games do we play? « Most of the games you are playing online: » 41% : are games you did not play in real life before trying them online 59% : are games you tried in real life before playing them online.When we come play online, is it to discover newgames or to extend and deepen our experiencewith « real » games?Well, both of them! Still, users play mostly gamesthey already know in real life.One of the reasons is this: its easier to learn anew game in real life than online. And so,logically, the players who are the most inclined todiscover new games online are also... the biggestplayers. Contextual help on BGA Stone age – Hans im Glück
  • 5. What is there in our game library? « Most of the games you are playing online on a regular basis: » 22% are games you play in real life on a regular basis, because you own them or they are available in your immediate entourage (friends, family, ...) 58% are games you own or are available in your immediate entourage, but you dont play them very often (lack of time, no opponents, ...) 20% are games neither you or your immediate entourage own.80% of online players play games they own orowned by someone close to them (gaming circle,friends, family...)Why is that?Well, first of all, because they played them in reallife before playing them online, and second,because after discovering them online withstrangers, they wanted to play them... with theirfriends! GOSU (Moonster Games) on BGA
  • 6. Why do we play online? « What is(are) your main motivation(s) for playing online? » 89% : finding opponents anytime of the day or night 67% : discovering new games 37.5% : finding challenging opponents 22% : playing games you dont plan to buy in real life 13% : playing games you cant found in your language or sold out 10.5% : meeting new players to make them friends.No big surprise here! We get online mainly tofind opponents (89% for all players, and up to93% for hardcore players).Then come the opportunity to discover newgames, and, less often, the ability to findopponents of ones level. Only a minority ofplayers are motivated by the possibility to playgames without getting the physical box. Le mode « tournoi » de BGA
  • 7. What do we buy? « Did you already buy a game - for you or as a gift - after discovering it thanks to an online board game website like BGA? » 57,5% : yes (among which 31,1%: more than once) 42,5% : noA majority of online players have already boughtat least one game they discovered online (57,5%for all players, up to 63% for hardcore players).This figure is up to 65% for players who aremotivated by discovering new games, and evenup to 70% for players indicating that they playmainly games they have discovered online. Dragonheart (Kosmos) on BGA
  • 8. How does it impact our « real » lives? « Overall, would you say that playing online: » 42.4% incites you to play more in real life 53.7% has no influence on your gaming activity in real life 3.9% incites you to play less in real life.Answers on this subject confirm that online play iscomplementary with « real life » play.Indeed, online playing nudges a lot of casualgamers to play more, while big players online staybig players in real life. Puerto Rico (Ravensburger - Alea) on BGA
  • 9. What about tablets? « In your opinion, board game adaptations on tablets and online board games on websites are: » 87,2% : Complementary (from time to time, its better to use one or another) 12,8% : Competitive (I dont see why I would use one if I had the other).Tablet adaptations and online play addressdifferent wishes and/or separate contexts foralmost 90% of players (95% for englishspeakers).Games on tablets are indeed mainly used to playwith an opponent who is there in the same roomor with an AI, while online play is focused onfinding a human opponent available online whenthere is no one around to play with and you dontfeel like powning (or getting powned by) the AIagain. Caylus (Ystari Games) on BGA (also available on iOs tablets)
  • 10. Summing it upOnline play for board games proves to be in almost every respect complementary wiith othergaming activities.When online, we dont play the same way, or with the same people than we do in real life, sinceonline play is indeed essentially a means to make do with a lack of available opponents when wewish to play.Online play is closely intertwined with « live » gaming, but it doesnt mean to and can neversubstitute itself to it since it lacks something essential : our friends around the table. In this,online play is very different and complementary to touch enabled tablets, around which we caninvite people over.For all these reasons, online play is mainly used as an extension of the gaming experiencethat is created by the « physical » game that we play « live » with friends at some other time.One other really interesting thing about online board games sites is discovering new games.Then, the urge to play a game discovered online within ones circle of friends becomes a triggerto buy the box in a very signigificant number of events.
  • 11. MethodologyThis study is based on an online survey hosted from the 7th to the 14th of June 2012 on the BoardGame Arena website (BGA).The survey asked « multiple choice », broad spectrum questions about online board gaming,whose results have been presented in this document.As users of the BGA service, 100% of people answering this study like playing board gamesonline.A sample of 457 players has been used, representative of the community in regard to their age,gender, mother tongue and number of games played per month they played.
  • 12. Who are we?Board Game Arena, is an online boardgaming website launched at the start of 2011.Our site offers online play, straight from the browser (nothing to download, nothing to install), inreal time, with players from the whole world.By putting above everything else ease of use and an utmost fidelity to the games we adapt, todaywe host more than 100.000 games a month (second most visited online boardgaming website inthe world and first in France).To this day, Board Game Arena hosts 21 games, from indie publishers as well as establishedones such as Hans im Glück (Stone Age, Hawaï), Kosmos (Kahuna, DragonHeart), RioGrande Games (Dominion, Race for the Galaxy), Ravensburger (Puerto Rico), Ystari Games(Caylus, Amyitis), Abacusspiele (Coloretto), Pearl Games (Troyes), …Our service is free for players and for publishers wishing to have their games adapted online,which makes our site accessible to everyone and gives us complete freedom in our choices toadapt the games we love. Costs for the site are covered by donations from players (club BoardGame Arena members) who we thank for their contribution by giving them access to someadvanced statistics and rating system.
  • 13. Contact us http://boardgamearena.comcontact@boardgamearena.com