More than four in ten (44%) of U.S. and U.K. adult mobile phone users have played at least one mobile game in the past month, according to research conducted by Information Solutions Group for EA’s (Electronic Arts) PopCap Games, a developer of “casual” video games.  The mobile games market continues to increase, PopCap said — with the number of adults that had played at least one mobile game in the last month increasing 29% compared to a year earlier.

“Mobile games continue to vie with social games as the hottest sector of the video game industry and that trend shows no sign of waning,” stated Dennis Ryan, VP of Worldwide Publishing at PopCap, in an announcement of the survey results. “Smartphone adoption continues apace and tablet adoption has added considerable fuel to the fire. Even more important, consumers are embracing the shift toward freemium games and other add-on game content purchases, driving the dramatic and rapid shift in the forms of monetization being used by developers and publishers.”

The mobile games marketplace now numbers more than 125 million people across the U.K. and U.S., according to the research.

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Among the report’s highlights:

  • Forty-six percent of all video game time is spent on a mobile device: Phones and computers are the most popular game devices, at 33% and 32%, respectively, with game consoles following at 18%
  • Smartphone adoption among gamers increased 16% to 71% from 2011 to 2012.
  • 36% of mobile gamers own a tablet, and 74% of tablet gamers didn’t play games previously.
  • More free games and purchases of new mobile phones with better game playing capabilities were the most popular reasons respondents cited for increased game playing at 70% and 47%, respectively. Purchase of a tablet was cited by 25%.
  • Fifty-one percent of mobile gamers made mobile game-related purchases in the past year, with 62% of those purchasing games making the purchases for themselves.
  • Four of every $10 spent was for added content and/or in-game currency.
  • Mobile gamers are mostly younger than 35 (48%), tend to play more than once a week (86%), and are likely to own a tablet (45%).
  • Those that owned a tablet spent 1.5-times more on games and game content than those who only play mobile games on phones ($25.47 vs. $16.68).

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