Profile of a Mobile Gamer

By | April 20, 2015

Want to get a slice of the $25 billion dollar mobile gaming industry?

Mobile devices, apps, and gaming have become a part of our everyday lives. Unlike console and PC games, which have long been considered the domain of boys and young men, the mobile gaming industry appeals to a much broader audience. Understanding this audience is one of the keys to designing, developing, and marketing a successful mobile game.

Age, Usage, and Money Spent

A comprehensive study on mobile gaming by research firm NPD Group recently revealed that device users spend more time playing games than ever before. From 2012 to 2014, the time device users spent on mobile games skyrocketed 57% – from 2 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours each day.

Source: gigaom.com

Source: gigaom.com

Toddlers, tweens, teenagers, and fully fledged adults are all embracing mobile games. However, it’s kids between age 2 and 12 that are more glued to their games than any other age group. These young digital natives typically dabble in five different games, only two of which are free-to-play on average. Perhaps not surprisingly, NPD Group also discovered that children represent one of the highest age brackets in terms of money spent on mobile games – second only to users aged 25 to 44.

Before you set out on a mad dash to reconfigure your mobile game to appeal to 5 year olds, it should be noted that most mobile game decisions made by younger children are driven by their parents – the 25 to 44 year olds.

Smartphones vs. Tablets

The marked uptick in mobile game play is partially attributed to the meteoric rise of the tablet. As opposed multitasking smartphones, tablets have largely been viewed as entertainment devices from the moment they first hit the market. 

Source: The Guardian

Mobile analytics experts Flurry revealed that tablet users spend an average of 67% of their time playing mobile apps. In contrast, app usage on smartphones is more evenly split between social networking, utilities, and games, with games occupying 39% of total use time.

Mobile Gamer Gender

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you see a 30 year old woman walking down the street? It’s probably not ‘stereotypical mobile gamer,’ but research indicates she just might be.

Source: SuperData Research

When it comes to mobile games, women account for over half of all users according to SuperData Research. That’s not to say, however, that you’ll find Grand Theft Auto IV on the average woman’s smartphone. Instead you’re more likely to come across match 3, brain training, bubble shooter, and social turn-based games.

Source: Engadget

Mobile game preferences among males, as revealed by flurry, comes as little surprise. Men aged 25 to 30 are partial to shooter, racing, strategy, and card-battle games.

Putting it All Together

What does all this mean for mobile game developers? It means that you should be designing and developing games with a target user or user group in mind, then marketing and monetizing accordingly.

If you want to tap into the lucrative children’s gaming market, your app needs to appeal to children and their parents. If you’re developing an arcade or endless runner-type game, don’t forget to market to women.

The biggest mistake mobile game developers can make is to develop apps blindly or make assumptions. So before you launch your next game, identify who is most likely to download it and take a look at how they are likely to play it.

Category: Mobile and video games trends

About Cheylene Thongkham

Cheylene Thongkham is a London-based technical writer and experienced software tester. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2007 and an ISTQB certification in 2010. After working as a web application tester in the US, Cheylene assumed the role of Senior QA Analyst at a FTSE 250 company in London where she oversaw testing for mobile websites, business intelligence, and Oracle databases. She is currently working towards becoming an Oracle Certified Professional.