Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Mobile Paid Games – still an Early Stage Market: US Online Survey

May 23rd, 2009 by

A recent online survey conducted in behalf of PopCap Games by Information Solutions Group among more than 1,100 AT&T wireless customers (ages 18+), reveals the growing popularity of mobile gaming.

Still, looking at the figures – paid games on mobile seem as an early stage market:

1. Most mobile gamers (76%) said they had played free games that came pre-installed on their phone, and a third indicated they had downloaded one or more free games to their phone. Only 24% of mobile gamers had ever paid for a game.

mobile gamers download1 Mobile Paid Games   still an Early Stage Market: US Online Survey

2. Mobile gamers who have purchased one or more mobile games have on average purchased a total of 7.2 mobile games.  26% said they’d purchased four or more games in the past year.

3. One third (32%) of all mobile gamers said they were “somewhat or very likely” to purchase a game for their cell phone in 2009.

4. Only 17% of mobile gamers consider their mobile phone to be their primary device for playing video games.

Unfortunately, no results were presented for smart phone gamers as a separate group. I believe that for those the market potential can be much more promising.

Here are the survey results in details:

I. Most popular occasions for play:

  • 60% of all mobile gamers report they play “while waiting for an appointment”.
  • 52% of mobile gamers say they play mobile games during work hours
  • 25% play mobile gamers play “when traveling on vacation” and “on the weekend”.

II. Frequencies and duration reported by mobile gamers:

  • 59% indicated they play games on their phone at least once a month;  40% said they played weekly or more often, while 41% said they played less than once per month.
  • 91% of mobile gaming sessions are 30 minutes or less; fully 62% are less than 15 minutes. 71% of mobile gamers play games on their phone for less than an hour per week; more than half (52%) of those who play daily said they play for three or more hours per week.
  • On average, nearly a quarter (22.2%) of a mobile gamer’s total game playing time occurs on their mobile phone.

III. Games Download:

  • 26% of mobile gamers said they’ve paid for a mobile game. (Across all mobile phone owners, including those who have never played a game on their phone, this equates to 15% having purchased a game.) More than three quarters (76%) of mobile gamers said they had played free games that came pre-installed on their phone, and a third (33%) indicated they had downloaded one or more free games to their phone.
  • The top factors influencing a mobile gamer’s decision to buy a mobile game were “game is in a genre I like” (61%), “price of the game is reasonable” (52%) and “played demo version and liked it” (50%).
  • Mobile gamers who have purchased one or more mobile games have on average purchased a total of 7.2 mobile games. 26% said they’d purchased four or more games in the past year
  • One third (32%) of all mobile gamers said they were “somewhat or very likely” to purchase a game for their cell phone in 2009. Among “frequent” mobile gamers, the likelihood of purchasing games in 2009 is much higher: half of those who play 1-3 times per week say they’re likely to purchase one or more mobile games this year, and 75% of those who play daily say they’re likely to buy one or more games this year.”
  • Among mobile gamers who indicated they would not be buying a mobile game in 2009, the top three reasons for that decision were: “happy with free games” (24%), “none of the games interest me enough to buy” (15%), and “lack of time to play” (14%).

IV. Favorites and Attractors:

  • Tetris (20%) and Bejeweled (18%) were most frequently named as “games you enjoy playing on your cell phone,” with Solitaire a close third (17%).
  • The most popular genres of mobile games are Puzzle (66%) and Card/Casino (51%), with Board games (15%) and Action/Adventure (11%) a distant third and fourth.

V. Gaming devices:

  • 86% of mobile gamers also play video games on one or more other devices. The most popular gaming devices among mobile gamers, other than mobile phones, were: Computer (76%); Console: (41%); and Handheld game device (24%).
  • 17% of mobile gamers consider their mobile phone to be their primary device for playing video games. Among all mobile phone gamers, 53% signified their desktop or laptop computer, and 23% indicated their video game console, as the device on which they play games most often.
  • Only 12% of mobile gamers say they play “hardcore” games, either on a cell phone or other device.

VI. Gender Differences:

  • Men tend to play mobile games somewhat more frequently than women; 44% of male respondents said they play once a week or more often, compared to 35% of female respondents. But women play for longer stretches: 41% of women said their average mobile gaming session was 15 minutes or more, compared to 35% of men, and 11% of women said their typical mobile gaming session lasts more than a half hour, compared to 7% of men.
  • Men play more at work: 28% of men said they take short mobile game breaks during their work day, compared to 17% of women.
  • When asked “when do you play games on your phone most often?” males chose “while waiting for an appointment” as their top choice (26%), as did females (45%). Among men, “during my work day, when I need a short break” was the second most common time to play (13%), while among women the second most popular time to play was “at night before I go to bed” (9%).
  • Women are twice as likely (28% vs. 14% of men) to purchase a game for their mobile phone based on having played the game in on another device. Men are more influenced by reading reviews (30% versus 8% of females).

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4 Responses

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