According to the NPD Group, four out of 10 of those who have played an upgradable freemium game have made an in-game payment. The report, titled “Insights into the Freemium Games Market”, also revealed that females are significantly more likely than males to have played a freemium game, but they are among the least likely to pay for an upgrade.

“The majority of freemium gamers who opt to pay to upgrade their experience do so within the first month of playing a particular game,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “When designing a game, it’s important to consider features that would drive quick conversion to pay.”

Since there’s little friction in adoption, only 15 percent of gamers that are aware of freemium games choose not to play them. There’s a conversion rate of 84 percent that continue to play among trial users; females are more likely to convert than males, while males and those ages 13 to 34 are the most likely to abandon freemium gaming after trying it.

“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,” said Frazier.  “At a minimum, for these gamers a freemium game would provide a different experience, like a snack versus a full meal.”

High awareness, high trial and high adoption of freemium games means that about 38 percent of the U.S. population over the age of two currently plays some type of freemium game.