Around one third of adults in the U.S. and U.K. can be considered mobile gamers, and more than half have played a game on their cell phone at least once, according to a new survey from Information Solutions Group and PopCap.
Of the 2,425 adults polled in an online survey conducted in January and commissioned by casual game developer PopCap Games (Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled series), an average of 52 percent said they had played a mobile game at some point (73 percent in the U.K., 44 percent in the U.S.).
The survey found that 33.6 percent of U.S. and U.K. respondents aged 18 and up played a game on their mobile phone in the past month, and 24.6 percent played a mobile game in the past month. PopCap categorized the former group as "mobile phone gamers", and the latter as "avid mobile phone gamers".
84 percent of the mobile gamers and 97 percent of the avid mobile gamers said they play games on their phone at least once a week. Smartphone mobile gamers in particular spend a lot of time gaming on the go, as 92 percent play mobile games at least once a week, and 45 percent play mobile games daily.
Among the mobile gamers, 50 percent said they are spending more time playing games on their handsets than they did in the previous year, compared to 20 percent who said the same in 2009. 63 percent of smartphone gamers claim they are playing more games now, too.
78 percent of the mobile gamer respondents indicated that playing games on their phone had become a regular part of their weekly activities, and 59 percent said it had become a part of their daily activities --- 88 percent of smartphone gamers play mobile games weekly, while 68 percent said the same for daily.
In the survey, 19 percent of mobile gamers said they play one or more social games on their handset daily, and 37 percent responded that they play a social game on their phones at least once a week. Among all mobile gamers, 23 percent of their phone usage time (excluding calls) is spent playing games.
When asked what device they play games on most often, 44 percent of mobile gamers said their phones (compared to 19 percent in 2009), while 21 percent of them said traditional consoles and 30 percent said computers. 51 percent of avid mobile gamers chose their phones, as did 55 percent of smartphone gamers.
43 percent of mobile gamers and 49 percent of smartphone gamers said they upgraded a free trial game to a full paid version in the past year. 27 percent of mobile gamers and 34 percent of smartphone gamers said they paid for additional content in a free-to-play game in the past year, too.
ISG and PopCap found that the average smartphone owner purchased twice as many games as those with other types of phones (5.4 games vs. 2.9 games) in 2010, and spent nearly $10 more on titles ($25.57 vs. $15.70).
"Mobile games are, along with social games, the hottest sector of the video game industry by far," says PopCap's Worldwide Publishing EVP Dennis Ryan. "As more people purchase smartphones and the entire process of finding, purchasing and playing mobile games becomes as simple as browsing the internet, the mobile games market is going to accelerate even more.”