Ever since the smartphone started to become a necessity item for the majority of the population, the number of people playing games on their mobiles has been on the rise. According to video games research firm Newzoo, there was a massive 43% increase in mobile gaming during 2014, and the firm has forecast that 2015 will be the first year that mobile gaming revenues will outstrip console gaming revenues.
As well as an increase in spending on mobile gaming, it appears that we are all spending more time gaming overall – regardless of what screen it’s on. The Newzoo report suggested that there had been a 40% increase in the time spent gaming compared with two years ago. And this is echoed in a report by industry intelligence group The NPD Group. The NPD report revealed that respondents spent about 3 hours a day playing games on their phones, while in a similar survey in 2012, the time spent was 2 hours and 20 minutes.
However, NPD suggests that more time is spent playing on tablets rather than phones, and that gamers on tablets are more likely to spend money on gaming than the people playing on their phones. Of course there are certain games that require real money stakes such as the bingo and casino games that you can play with mobile gaming apps such as bgo, Gala and Sky. Online bingo has become one of the most popular real money games in recent years, with over 100 million people having online bingo accounts worldwide. And according to the UK Gambling Commission, there was a 22% increase in the number of people playing bingo on their mobiles in the UK during the period April 2013 – March 2014. If you visit bgo.com/bingo, for example, you can get a sense of the revenue and buzz generated on online bingo sites. Companies such as bgo do not shy away from hiring big names in the entertainment industry for marketing campaigns. But it’s not just the bingo and casino games that generate income; and many of the gaming sites offer their games in demo mode where it’s free to play anyway.
Instead, much of the mobile gaming revenue comes from people buying premium-priced games and also making in-game purchases having downloaded a free-to-play app. And according to the NPD, tablet gamers are more likely to make purchases than phone gamers.
So who is it that has more time to game? The NPD report suggests that gamers aged between 2 and 12 are the ones that spend the largest amount of time gaming, which makes sense because they have the most free time! This age group plays an average of five different games in a day, and three of those are likely to be premium-priced games. The 2-12 year olds are only second behind the 25-44 age group in terms of spending on new games and in-app purchases. Of course the majority of kids’ purchases will be monitored by their parents – so marketing is still aimed primarily at the 25-44 year age group.
However, just because we’re spending more time on our mobiles and tablets, it doesn’t mean that disc-based games are on the way out yet. According to the NPD report, only 20% of respondents were ‘mobile-only’ gamers. The time spent on other devices – such as the pc and console – has remained constant for the rest of the respondents. It’s just that the time spent on smart devices has increased. What is more usual, though, is a reduction in other leisure activities – such as watching the TV.