A study into UK gaming has suggested that the amount that we have spent on console games in 2010 has fallen significantly, but that we are forking out more for MMOs and games on social networks.

Newzoo's Total Consumer Spend 2010 Report suggests that the economic climate has left us spending three per cent less in total on gaming.

However, that figure includes a whopping 25 per cent less money being spent on consoles, and it is our MMO subscriptions that have made up much of the shortfall.

Euro-zone up

In Europe, gaming saw a significant increase – with the German market up 33 per cent and France up 13 per cent.

"There has been a drop of more than 25% in total spend on console games - which still accounts for almost half of all money spent on games," states Newzoo's report.

"But this has been almost completely compensated for by growth across all online and mobile game platforms, ranging from 27% for MMOs to 66% for games played on social networks.

"Other key European markets show even larger growth in money spent on online business models, pushing the total spend up with 13% in France and 33% in Germany resulting in market sizes of €4.0bn Euro and €4.9bn Euro respectively.

Pay to upgrade

The report suggests that the most important trend has been people's willingness to use free-to-play games but then upgrade to putting some cash in – either for an enhanced experience or to buy in-game goods.

Peter Warman, MD of Newzoo adds: "Our data shows consumers are not simply moving away from console games, but spreading their budget across more platforms.

"Their choice of game genre and platform depends on time, place, social setting and the need they are seeking to satisfy at that moment.

"There is no longer such thing as a typical casual or core gamer, as on average, consumers play games on more than 3.5 platforms and more than 85% of all gamers spends time on casual game platforms.

"Games are clearly becoming a more integrated part of people's lives and social activities. The current variety of platforms and game genres combined with the low entry barrier of free-to-play business models will ensure further growth in western countries as well as in emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia."