I'd really like to know! Being someone that buys, on average, a couple of games a month and, on average, around one new piece of hardware a year, it'd be an interesting figure to know. Sorry, what's that? You say ("you" being a GameStrata survey) we, as gamers, spend on average $30,500 on games and hardware between the ages 18-48? Oh. Oh, see. Now I wish I didn't know. That's depressing.

US, June 24, 2008 - GameStrata, the leading online community for gamers, today released results from a survey of North American video game enthusiasts showing that over their peak gaming years of 18-48 the average gamer spends more than $30,500 on games and gaming hardware.

"With forecasters estimating this year's sales will reach nearly $23 billion, it's clear that gaming is the fastest-growing sector in the entertainment industry," said Barry Dorf, COO of GameStrata. "The best part is that the trend doesn't show any signs of slowing. In spite of predictions of a sluggish economy, gamers continue to invest their time and money into electronic entertainment."

A strong correlation between the frequency of digital purchases and Xbox 360 ownership suggests that the Xbox 360 is the preferred console for the consumption of digital content. Additionally, online multiplayer capabilities are more important than ever, with the vast majority of respondents claiming they prefer to spend most of their time gaming with others on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network (PSN).

"The overwhelming majority of gamers are spending their time online with friends, building their reputation and online personas," said Dorf. "Video games are becoming so much more than a momentary diversion; gaming is becoming yet another means of community building."

The move toward the microtransaction revenue model is also a notable trend, with 85% of respondents confirming the purchase of a virtual good in the last month. And with nearly 40% of the respondents confirming that they play 6-10 hours online per week, it's clear that console manufacturers have more than Cell chips and motion-sensitive controllers to worry about. A simple, easy to navigate online infrastructure is crucial to the success of console development.

Reaching new levels of social interaction may explain the fact that an overwhelming percentage of social gamers purchased online goods. Though most gamers are already likely to purchase virtual goods online, participating in a social network and seeing friends update their games and systems may expedite the process and help gamers make buying decisions faster.

Said Dorf, "The survey results show that social networks need only adapt to the persistent and competitive elements of any genre to penetrate its user base … the viability of future gaming centric social networks is very strong."