comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study on mobile gaming highlighting the potential for growth in the mobile gaming market despite a 13-percent decline in the number of U.S. mobile gamers during the past year. This overall decline was driven by a 35 percent decline in mobile gaming among feature phone (i.e. non-smartphone) subscribers, who represent approximately 80 percent of the market, which contrasted with the sizeable 60 percent increase in the number of gamers via smartphone.
"Although the number of mobile gamers has declined in the past year, there is reason for significant optimism about the future of this market," said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP Mobile and senior analyst. "As the market transitions from feature phones to smartphones, the dynamics of gameplay are also shifting towards a higher quality experience. As a result, we can expect to see a profound increase in adoption of this activity, both in terms of audience size and overall engagement."
Smartphone Subscribers Heavier Mobile Gamers
The inevitable ascent of the mobile gaming market depends not only on smartphone subscribers' higher propensity to play games on their mobile devices, but also their heavier gaming activity across nearly every dimension. Smartphone subscribers (47.1 percent) are three times more likely than feature phone subscribers (15.7) to play games on their device at least once a month. They are more than five times as likely to play games almost every day and far surpass their feature phone counterparts across various methods of game play.
Smartphone subscribers also install significantly more games on their devices with 27.3 percent having installed at least one game compared to just 5.6 percent of feature phone subscribers. A third of smartphone subscribers with games have more than five games installed on their phones, while less than one percent of feature phone subscribers have that many games installed.
"Smartphones offer a more accessible and compelling mobile gaming experience that is enabling adoption of this behavior, even among consumers who have not traditionally been gamers," added Donovan. "Marketers and advertisers ought to be paying close attention to the opportunity this presents for reaching consumers in new and engaging ways in a cross-platform environment. The potential for highly creative marketing efforts is exciting."
Top Genres of Mobile Games
Smartphone subscribers are more likely to play mobile games than feature phone subscribers across every gaming genre. The genre with the highest penetration among smartphone subscribers is Arcade Puzzle games at 12.9 percent, followed by Card games (11.9 percent), Word/Number games (11.4 percent) and Casino games (7.6 percent). While casual game genres have higher penetration than hardcore genres (sports, racing, action/adventure, first-person shooter), the hardcore genres exhibit significantly higher adoption among smartphone subscribers. This finding highlights the importance of the smartphone medium in driving adoption of higher quality gaming experiences.