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Mobile, tablet players spend just 92 cents a month on average

Research firm Interpret says that compares to $10.40 spent each month by home console gamers

Market research firm Interpret has released its semi-annual GameByte study, outlining the huge challenges that mobile developers face when it comes to monetization despite a quickly growing audience. The report indicates that the average gamer on smartphones and tablets spends $0.92 per month on full game apps, and only $0.79 per month on mobile in-game items. Success on mobile can be elusive, and this new data only reinforces what EEDAR's Jesse Divnich told us: devs must be prepared to support a variety of platforms, including next-gen consoles.

"In the US, 48 million people are actively engaged in smartphone and tablet gaming, more than double the 23 million playing free-to-play MMOs on PC," said Jason Coston, senior analyst at Interpret. "But the average spend is so much weaker for mobile games that the two business models generate comparable revenues."

Interpret pointed out that free-to-play MMO gamers spend about $3.25 each month, while subscription MMO players (to the extent that subscription MMOs are still around) spend $4.25 a month. None of these spends can match up with home consoles, however, as $10.40 a month is spent on average by players of traditional consoles.

The consoles' user base may be significantly smaller, but there's a clear advantage for developers since the money spent by players is almost always going to be higher. Conversely, only 47 percent of US mobile gamers paid for a full game app over a six-month period, Interpret found, and only 21 percent paid for in-game items. During that same period, 75 percent of retail console gamers paid for a physical console or PC game.

"The mobile game market may be a pretty big cookie jar," added Coston, "but the neck is rather narrow, the cookies are small, and there are a lot of hands trying to reach into the jar."

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.