Well, um, because it is fun? In some sense, the latest survey of 10,000 users of MocoSpace’s massive mobile social network is as much of a no-brainer as they come. They asked their base why they play mobile games. And yes, more than a third did say they do it for the obvious reason -– to have fun. But more interesting is the second-most-popular response -– boredom. The survey found that 32% of mobile gamers are doing it just to kill some time. Only 10% say they do it because they like to compete.
But gaming is also a social activity of a particular sort. To be sure, this question as being asked of people on a social network, where there is a lot of profile viewing and people discovery, but only 2% of the respondents said they game to connect with their existing friends. More gamers (9%) are doing it to meet new people. Call it an ice-breaker?
And for all of those teachers who think their students are rudely texting one another with their devices hidden behind books and under the desk -– the reality is worse than you think. Almost 31% of respondents said they play games in class, and 42% say it is because the class is boring.
Again, the boredom meme. Anyone with a teenage son or daughter knows that boredom is at epidemic proportions. But the MocoSpace findings remind us how important the entertainment factor is to all mobile media. Whether it is a news lookup, a social net check-in or even perhaps an in-store product scan, people often turn to their devices to fill their head with something distracting and fun. Other studies have shown that the fluidity of a user interface, for instance, is one of the chief determining factors in whether an app is used repeatedly. We are looking for a bit of joy, a bit of whimsy and a bit of fun and entertainment in much of what we do on these portable touchscreens.