Geoffrey Zatkin presents his company’s research at PAX.

Did you know that Nintendo Wii games are 22 percent more likely to include ninjas than games on Sony’s PlayStation 3? Or that games on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are 29.4 percent more likely to be about pirates?

Those were a couple unexpected factoids from a panel at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this weekend featuring Geoffrey Zatkin, president of EEDAR, a California company that provides specialized data to the gaming industry.

But beyond the fun facts, Zatkin shared some underlying trends that would make your head spin. While the commonly reported sources place the U.S. game industry around $16 billion, this number does not include sources of revenue beyond the standard store sales. Many digital sales, including sales from Apple and Android app stores, are not included in that number, nor is the revenue from many Facebook games.

In addition, Zatkin provided demographic numbers showing that adult female gamers now make up a larger percentage of the gaming population than teenage boys do — a revelation that drew cheers from the crowd.

The broader growth in video games helps to explain how a gaming convention like PAX can pack the Washington State Convention Center for three consecutive sold-out days. (PAX Prime, as the Seattle event is known, is expanding to four days starting next year.) Seattle-based Penny Arcade already has an annual show in Boston each year, PAX East, and it’s planning to start a new PAX event in Australia.

With figures like these I can understand why the wait to preview Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” was close to two hours!

Here are a few of the charts that Zatkin presented.

A chart showing how critical acclaim factors into the success of video games.
Traditional in-store game sales have flattened out, but …
… the growth of games on new platforms, such as the iPhone, has skyrocketed.
And yes, each game console still has its quirks.

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