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Two-thirds of whales are males

EEDAR study finds big spenders in mobile skew male, are younger, and spend more time gaming on consoles

Whales, the top 5 percent of spenders in the mobile gaming market, are twice as likely to be male, according to a new report from EEDAR. The research firm based that on a July survey of more than 3,000 active mobile and tablet gamers, as detailed in its 2013 Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming report.

According to EEDAR, males accounted for 66 percent of the top 5 percent of respondents who paid money for mobile games. The split was 53 percent male, 47 percent female among the rest of the survey takers who paid for mobile gaming, while the non-paying group was 65 percent female. Overall, women accounted for 56 percent of the mobile gamers in the survey.

Beyond skewing male, whales also tended to be younger than their non-paying counterparts. EEDAR said the average age of non-payers was 36.6, down to 32.5 for payers, and down further to 30.2 for the whales.

Unsurprisingly, whales spent more time playing mobile games than non-whales, but they also played more games of all types. While non-payers' gaming total was limited to 7.2 hours a week and even payers only registered 9.9 hours, whales reported an average of 26.5 hours of time spent gaming each week, nearly one quarter of their waking time (assuming eight hours of sleep each day).

EEDAR also looked at the breakdown of how each group spent that game time. Interestingly, whales tended to be more active on the two platform categories least associated with free-to-play titles: consoles and handhelds. Whales reported spending 24 percent of their gaming time on consoles, more than any other category, while non-paying mobile gamers spent just 15 percent of their time on consoles. As for handhelds, whales used dedicated gaming portables 10 percent of the time, compared to just 3 percent for non-payers.

"While the report focuses solely on mobile gamers and their playing habits, it is a fair statement that a portion of our top mobile spenders are part of the core console gaming community," EEDAR's Jesse Divnich told GamesIndustry International. "It's not surprising. Core gamers have been conditioned to spend money on traditional games and it is fair to assume this habit carries with them into to other gaming verticals. To this crowd, spending $1.99 to break a few jelly blocks in Candy Crush Saga is worth the purchase price. Or even $50+ is easily justifiable. They likely view it as an investment, as most hobbyists do."

Divnich also noted that there has been a negative stigma from outside the industry placed on in-app purchases, and pointed to it as a likely cause why heavy mobile spenders won't identify themselves as such. As for whether they feel they're getting their money's worth, Divnich said 78 percent of those who spent $50 or more on mobile gaming said they were satisfied with their purchases.

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Latest comments (23)

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Can someone please frame this and allow us to hotlink to it each time somebody starts whining about F2P?

Thanks for the article, Brendan.

Just gonna mark this out so I can find it easily again:

Divnich also noted that there has been a negative stigma from outside the industry placed on in-app purchases, and pointed to it as a likely cause why heavy mobile spenders won't identify themselves as such. As for whether they feel they're getting their money's worth, Divnich said 78 percent of those who spent $50 or more on mobile gaming said they were satisfied with their purchases.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 22nd August 2013 10:47pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Ha. For a hot second I thought this was a piece about convention attendees or the general health of gamers... industry lingo can lead to confusion....;^P
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Fazi Zsolt Game & Level Designer @Atypical Games 3 years ago
Poor shmucks, they don't even know that they have been trained into feeling good about spending 50$+ on something that will make them feel bad after. This will force them to buy again, to feel good. It is called conditioning, and it is very much present in the industry. But to be fair, it is present in every type of shop and marketing technique. Of course that doesn't make it right to use it.

So what do they say, when asked how do they feel after spending 50$+? of course they will say GOOD. The question should be : "How do you feel after the rush of instant gratification has passed ?"

And the answer will be entirely different for the majority, of that I'm sure.
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Show all comments (23)
Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Guys, this is getting a bit old now.

If you don't like this pay model then fine. But if you want to start making statements as facts, can you at least add some evidence? All I ever read on the internet these days is this:

"I don't like F2P, therefore all those that do are twats".

And that says more about the commenter than the target.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 23rd August 2013 11:28am

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Fazi Zsolt Game & Level Designer @Atypical Games 3 years ago
Believing in all these surveys and statistics done by all these firms, like it was the truth and its 100% real is like believing anything a car salesman tells you.

And for facts open the psychology book 101, page classical conditioning, operant conditioning and of course the icing on the cake the psychological manipulation. Reading a bit makes people understand why and how. (and there are a lot of studies too)

As for free2play, it's not bad. But it's harmful the way is being used in these games. (and by harmful I mean: targeting users with certain personalities, to manipulate them into thinking they like it, and by thinking this way, the are manipulated into feeling that it is all good).
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
Oh look, another polarised internet argument about free to play games.

I've paid for things in free to play games before, like with Age of Empires online. I don't play AoE online anymore, and even though it's soon to be shut down I don't have one single regret about paying money towards it because it unlocked new missions and was fun at the time. So much for me being psychologically manipulated and feeling bad about myself once the "instant gratification" has worn off.

But then there are games like Farmville and The Sims Social (I have played both but was never tempted to spend). Games where you pay for energy that allows you to perform tasks like pulling up weeds or paying for a static, un-interactive 2D sprite to fit into your virtual square of land.

It isn't the business model you should be arguing about, it's how it's implemented from game to game.
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Fazi Zsolt Game & Level Designer @Atypical Games 3 years ago
I wasn't arguing about the business model, if you would have had the patience to read more carefully, you would've noticed.
You gonna be a very angry man when you will realize
Well not really, cause knowing is avoiding.
As for what you buy, where you go, what you dress in and what you think about, it is already taught to you when you are a kid.
But we are not here to talk about my lifestyle, are we ?

As for free2play I am all for it, but what we have today is not really a free2play, it's more like a cheap carrot on a stick trick. (and yes, I was attacking the practices that are used to make people buy things, not the genre itself.)
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
Is it me or are a majority of people on this site just here to complain, push agendas and moan about everything that does not fit into their narrow view of the world?

Paul and Eric are right; too many people poo-poo F2P and claim it is the spawn of the devil, stating personal opinion as fact.

I have sold games using the pay up front model and the F2P model and have never once had a complaint that the F2P practice was unfair, exploitative or underhanded, mainly because it wasn't. Of course there are some nasty implementations of F2P, but for every scammer there is a large number of fair F2P games which fit the model perfectly and the customers are very happy.

Also one thing about F2P which is often overlooked is that the model allows for small nibble payments. Not everyone can afford to front $50-$60 for a game they may or may not enjoy. At least F2P gives players to test the waters and buy the parts of the game that they want to use.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 23rd August 2013 4:58pm

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Pretty sure these 30 year old males arent married either if I had to guess. Pretty sure the wife wouldnt be too thrilled with such purchases, and no way they have kids, young dads are lucky to get a new pair of shoes each year let alone spend all kinds of money on frivolous mobile games.
Im not saying its good or bad they are not married, Im just saying I bet you could deduce the demographic down further.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
How do I fit then Todd. Married, kids, mortgage, busy life, not exactly awash in money?
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fit? its called an average? Pretty sure your not 2/3rds male either? yet whales are on average.
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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd3 years ago
Not everyone can afford to front $50-$60 for a game they may or may not enjoy.
In all honesty most consoles purchases I would imagine are for games that people know they're going to like. Though I agree with you in that F2P itself is not evil.

I think the only reason for the opposing sides here is that some people are suggesting f2p is the ONLY way forward and others are happy with the existing model. And because people's main objective is to argue their point there is very little actual fruitful discussion and instead you just end up with "what I think versus what you think" type dialogue.

So in the end absolutely nothing interesting is said other than attempts to beat down another persons statement and point of view. No exploration or discussion of new ideas. No enlightening remarks that make you ponder on new possibilities. Nothing, just a boring argument between opposing sides.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
some people are suggesting f2p is the ONLY way forward
Yep, that is annoying also. I buy games and I buy in-app purchases, why does it have to be an either or situation? Can't we all just get along. :D
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Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games3 years ago
Darren your #10 comment is pretty much spot. on. Often it feels like Kotaku or IGN.

Denial is a bad thing.. leads to closures as it has been clearly evident the last few years.
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Eyal Teler Programmer 3 years ago
Is it me or are a majority of people on this site just here to complain, push agendas and moan about everything that does not fit into their narrow view of the world?
It's most people on the internet. :) I don't think people in the game industry are any different than the gaming public at large. People mostly post when they disagree with something. Most people who read this article probably think it's an interesting statistic (or not) and move on. People who are into selling games might think how they can use this stat to their advantage. Those who post are the few that don't really care, but just have a colony of ticks they've been growing.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend3 years ago
a colony of ticks they've been growing
Lol, that's a new one. :D
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis3 years ago
I have to say, I have spent around $150 on Simpsons Tapped Out and I'm 34 and married with children.

My wife is a gamer and she refuses to spend money on F2P games even though she plays games like Simpsons Tapped Out as well.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 3 years ago
Is anyone genuinely surprised that a group of gamers already demonstrating above average indications of addictive behaviours are also whales? They're the perfect prey with high disposable income and vulnerable to the psychological tricks in the F2P toolkit.

That you were already milking them hard excuses nothing.
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AKE STREET-CONAWAY IT 3 years ago
Barrie spent 150 on the simpsons and he new what he was buying. I have bought many 60 dollar games that were complete trash. I could not return the game for my 60 dollars. The f2p model is actually great. Try a complete game to see if you like it. If you like it you keep paying. Even if its 300 dollars over months or years, you new what you were getting. The consumer is happy with his/her purchase. Unless you have done extremely thorough research into a $60 dollar box game how do you know it will satisfy your gaming needs. In terms of one time purchase games. I like the psn/ arcade model. Download the complete game. The developer gives you part of a level to play. If you like you buy and if you don/t you delete and move on. Again this just my opinion. Please keep the comments going. I always love the lively conversations on this site.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Sadly there are no real conversations. You mostly either get agreement (that F2P can be good), or you get this ignorant rhetoric that people pass off as their own opinion - like that from other Paul up there. I'm sure that's a cut and paste and he's never even played one.

We got "vulnerable" and "psychological trick" there, we just need "idiot" for the full set. I refer the whiners and the tinfoil hat brigade back to the bold article at the head of the post.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 26th August 2013 10:36pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
You know, I've taken to being mr righteous on this forum on the subject of F2P.. (Yeah, really)

And the biggest reason for that is not that I'm it's biggest fan, but it's the mind melting sheer ignorance of the neighsayers, spouting all this crap about trickery and daddys credit card. This is supposed to be an intelligent bunch of people here, why can they not just read the top paragraph and just bloody well be quiet - YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTING ANYONE BUT YOURSELF.

This diatribe of hate toward the new pay model is less like a reasoned discussion and more like the damned Spanish inquisition.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 3 years ago
Au contraire Paul. I've played a few and while it suits you to pretend everyone is a neighsaying idiot, it ain't true. I've seen the spread of good,bad and evil F2P implementation. I notice a game cynically pulling on the addiction triggers far too often for comfort.

But hey, you keep on telling yourself we work in a customer respecting industry, that we don't swim with sharks, there aren't crooks and amoral actors around us, that no-one would abuse the F2P toolkit. However tempting the pot of gold is.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Shirley on 26th August 2013 11:58pm

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
See, you lost me at "evil". Really? If an over-aggressive consumeable shifting game (which I also dislike) is "evil", then where do we place the chemical extermination of <insert race here> on that chart?

You can actually disagree with something without using max superlatives. As with prepaid, there's a lot to dislike about some F2P implementations and no one thing is going to please everyone. Lets just use some proper language and stop trying to cast all the developers as pariahs and the consumers as tricked idiots.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 27th August 2013 8:52am

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