Popular smartphones, like the iPhone and Android devices, are turning gaming from a male-dominated stronghold into a mass-market form of entertainment, according to a new study. Perhaps nothing illustrates that more than runaway popularity of "Angry Birds."
In addition, new findings from mobile app advertising and analytics firm Flurry show that people playing games on mobile devices are more likely to be younger and female and more affluent and educated than the average American.
The average age of the mobile gamer is 28 compared to 34 for their traditional counterparts, and 53% are female versus only 40% of gamers on game systems like the Nintendo Wii or Sony PlayStation. (Console game sales slipped 5% last year from 2009.)
"There is also greater density in the 18-49 bracket, which indicates that [Apple] iOS and Android devices are attracting users during their earning years versus, in particular, their teenage years, where they likely cannot afford more expensive mobile devices," according to a Flurry blog post today.
Among mobile gamers, females tend to skew older, with a higher proportion of women than men playing in the 26 through 65 age bracket. But boys and men slightly outpace girls and women in the 13 to 25 age range.
North America (64%) dominates the mobile social-gaming category, mainly because of the penetration of the iPhone and Android smartphones in the market. Europe is second, at 30%, with Asia a distant third, at 4%.
In terms of income, the typical mobile social gamer earns 50% more than the average U.S. household income of $43,600 and is twice as likely to have earned a college degree or higher. With mobile game apps attracting 26 million unique viewers a day, Flurry notes that the audience exceeds the 20 million for most top prime-time TV shows.
What are they playing besides "Angry Birds"? Games like "Zombie Farm" by the Playforge, "Trade Nations" from Z2Live and "Smurfs' Village" by Capcom.
"In terms of usage behavior, they use social games far more often than they watch prime-time television shows, and using for 25 minutes per day, are heavy users of this interactive content," the report states. "Mobile social gamers are the new mass-market powerhouse."