Gamers play on mobile far more than consoles - survey

Addressable market has grown to over 125 million people playing mobile games in the US and UK

Smartphone gaming and tablet gaming is on the rise, as nearly half of all adults in the US and UK are now playing games on mobile, according to a new survey conducted by Information Solutions Group on behalf of PopCap. It is estimated that there is now an addressable market of more than 125 million people playing mobile games in the US and UK.

In fact, almost half (46 percent) of all video game time is spent on a mobile device, the survey indicated. Phones and computers were found to be the most common game devices (33 percent and 32 percent, respectively), whereas dedicated consoles were only at 18 percent.

"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. "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."

Further data from the survey shows that more than 4 in 10 adults had played at least one mobile game in the past month, which is a sizable increase of 29 percent compared to a year ago. And tablets are generating lots of interest, as the iPad, Kindle and other tablet devices have brought approximately 11 million new mobile gamers into the fold in the past 12 months. 36 percent of mobile gamers now own a tablet and 74 percent of the tablet gamers did not play mobile games previously.

The free-to-play sector, as Ryan alluded to, is definitely helping to drive mobile. Among the reasons cited for the increase in mobile gameplay are the availability of more free games (70 percent), acquisition of a new phone with better gaming capabilities (47 percent) and purchase of a tablet (25 percent).

That said, spending data reveals that half (51 percent) of mobile gamers made mobile game-related purchases in the past year. 62 percent was directly for games, while four out of every ten dollars spent was for additional content and/or in-game currency. Interestingly, tablet gamers are more likely to spend, as mobile gamers who only play on a tablet spent 1.5 times more on games and game content than those who only play mobile games on a phone ($25.47 versus $16.68).

The complete survey can be accessed here.

More stories

John Vechey departs Popcap

"Maybe I'll stick with non-profit work, maybe start a new company"

By Rachel Weber

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare gets micro-transactions

"Players will be given the option to purchase coins"

By Rachel Weber

Latest comments (12)

Ian Brown IT Developer / IT Infrastructure 9 years ago
Pretty wide group to analyze, I mean pretty much every one has access to a phone with snake or Angry birds. It's almost like saying more people watch films on TV than a DVD player.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
Is this survey accessible somewhere on the internet?
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz9 years ago
@ Hugo, I've updated the story with a link to the whole survey.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (12)
Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
Obvious and just reinforces other research. And this is just the beginning, smartphone production is ramping up to a billion units a year. Console gaming is a drop in the ocean in comparison.

Smartphone gaming has 2 utterly immense advantages over console.

1) The gaming device is more accessible. Firstly it costs nothing, it just comes along with the normal mobile telephone contract. Secondly it is always with the user, sitting in their pocket. And it is always on.

2) The games themselves are far more accessible. Firstly they are either free or very cheap. None of this $60 nonsense. Secondly they are engineered to be very easy to get into and to play. And once you are paying them the core gameplay is everything. There is no room for all the pretentious baggage that weighs down so many console games. Cut scenes for instance.

Even a high percentage "core" gamers are spending a lot of their gaming time on smartphones.

One major group of people who this has just passed by are most gaming journalists, who seem to still be living in 2007, devoting their lives to boxed console games which really are on their way out as a business model.
They don't seem to realise that there are more new iPhone games released in a day than there are boxed console games in a year. And that iPhone is where it is at for innovation, creativity and carrying gaming forwards into new areas. In comparison console gaming is just sequels and me toos, which do not progress gaming one jot.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Ryan Leonski Indie Dev 9 years ago
While its true that mobile is doing great and there are relatively high production games on the various marketplaces I personally see it akin to what YouTube is and the Movie Industry. Yes there are great videos on the service and many are pushing film in new directions since it is so accessible but it still hasn't brought down the movie industry. Now of course the film industry is not the the same as the video game industry but I think it still brings about the point that there is still going to be an audience that would like to have a sit down experience with a more expansive game than just an iPhone app.

What we're seeing here is the revival of the arcades but instead of going out to the arcade, the arcade goes with you everywhere.

One last analogy. I personally love the theatre. Musicals, plays, comedians, bands, orchestras ect. Even though there is so much technology trying for my time there is still this form of entertainment that many thought would die with the introduction of film, the recording of sound, and the ability to transmit media, yet it's still around and still drawing large crowds for those experiences.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nicola Orrù Senior Programmer, SCEE Studio Liverpool9 years ago
The market for "casual" gaming is far larger than the market for "serious" games? So what?

McDonald's are cheaper and far more abundant than proper restaurants. That doesn't give us permission to label a serious 3 or 4 course dinner worth 60£ "nonsense". Sure very few people can afford that as an everyday meal, but it comes far from saying that every professional cook should close down and set shop in the flipping hamburgers sector.

Personally I'd rather have one proper dinner out for 50£ than 10 cheap ones for 5$, anytime. Sometimes I feel like *they* should pay *me* to eat their stuff. Last time I had a big mac was, when, 20 years ago?
2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam9 years ago
Don't feed the troll.
3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Nicola Orrù Senior Programmer, SCEE Studio Liverpool9 years ago
Trolls? On O_o ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicola Orrù on 15th June 2012 11:39am

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
Thanks ;)
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd9 years ago
Research shows more Kit-Kats are sold per week than steak dinners.

Can we give the platform zealotry a rest now please? It's unbelievably tedious.
1Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises9 years ago
That's funny that the survey was done by PopCap, they made one of the only decent games on my phone: Plants vs Zombies. Every other mobile game loses when it has to compete for my time against games on the PS3 and 360.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto9 years ago
People who compare phone games with console games are forgetting that owning a phone and owning a console aren't mutually exclusive, and that phone games aren't really competing with AAA console games for the most part. They're different types of games that people play for different reasons.

Someone that might have owned the Wii, and only the Wii might be satisfied to replace their console entirely with a phone, but someone that enjoys playing games like Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty regularly isn't going to substitute console gaming for mobile gaming. They might play Angry Birds as well as Call of Duty, but they're not going to play Angry Birds instead of Call of Duty, because the two types of game are entirely different experiences that people seek out for different reasons.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.