Mobile gaming is no longer the niche it was even three years ago, with nearly half of all adults in the United States and the U.K. playing at least once a month.
According to a survey of 2,300 adults (conducted by Information Solutions Group, and commissioned by mobile game company PopCap, which is owned by EA), 44% said they had played at least one mobile game in the past month -- up from 29% in 2011, and double the amount from when the survey was first conducted in 2009 (22%).
“It’s the fastest-growing segment of the game industry at the moment,” Giordano Contestabile, franchise director of Bejeweled (PopCap’s franchise mobile game), tells Marketing Daily. “A year from now, ‘gaming’ will [refer to] mobile gaming, and everything else will be niche.”
The biggest factor in the explosive growth rate of mobile gaming is the adoption of smartphones and tablets, Contestabile says. According to the survey, nearly one out of every 10 new gamers came to the platform via a recently acquired tablet. The lower price point (often free) of mobile games is also driving more casual gamers into the market, he says.
“They have made discovery of games very easy and efficient,” Contestabile says. ”Access is easy and phones are something we always have with us. That’s why the use is so high. Most people play several times during the day.”
Indeed. In addition to an increase in the number of mobile gamers, frequency and play time have also jumped over the past year. According to the survey, the number of people who play daily is up 29% over the previous year, and 22% of the gamers play more than 3 hours a week (up from 14% in 2011).
Moving forward, Contestabile says, it’s likely the industry will see an even greater convergence of mobile and social gaming, allowing consumers to play their favorites regardless of where they are or what device they’re using and to share and play against friends.
“They’ll have different versions [for each platform], but it’s the same game,” he says. “It allows gamers to have a similar experience wherever they are. I think that’s the future. You don’t want players to look for you. You want to be where most of your players are.”