One of the oft-forgotten components of Web 2.0 is online gaming, which continues to grow at faster rates than many other Web categories. Online gaming grew 22 percent year-over-year, growth that comScore attributes in part to the economic climate. That’s pretty dramatic, especially considering that the total number internet users grew by only 2 percent in that time. There were 87 million U.S. visitors to gaming sites in May 2009, up from 72 million the same date in 2008. "Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year," comScore’s Edward Hunter said.

"Growth in the category is occurring not only at the top gaming destination sites, but also through viral distribution platforms, including widgets and applications," Hunter said.

About 40 percent of total U.S. internet users visited online gaming sites in May 2009. Online games are growing 10 times faster than the total internet population.

The number one site for online gaming is Yahoo! Games, which grew six percent year-over-year to over 19 million unique visits in May 2009, almost one-tenth of Facebook’s total.

Second to Yahoo! is EA Online (where Obama famously placed in-game ads during last year’s campaign), which had 18 million unique visitors. Nickelodeon Casual Games, WildTangent Network and Disney Games all had over 10 million unique visitors, as well.

ComScore also notes that viral game distribution, in the form of widgets and apps, is also taking off, closing in on the numbers of dedicated gaming sites. The leading site in this category, MochiMedia, had 16-million unique visitors in May 2009, 8.7 percent of the total U.S. online population.

By Mark Alvarez