Many of us own a menagerie of video game systems, and we show them off with the pride of a medieval nobleman taking visitors through a zoo full of exotic animals (‘This one was gifted to me by the Emperor of Japan. It’s called a ‘Dreamcast”). Answer this, though: out of all your gaming knick-knacks, which one gets the most hands-on attention? According to a recent survey, your answer is probably ‘my smartphone.’
The survey, which was conducted by Solutions Group on behalf of PopCap, reveals that over half of all adults in the UK and the US, or 125 million people, are playing games on mobile and tablet. More precisely, almost half of these adults’ gaming time (about 46%) is spent on a mobile device. Phones are the most popular choice (33%), followed by PC (32%), and consoles trail at 18%.
Impressive numbers to be sure, and there’s no doubt that mobile/tablets have had an enormous impact on the gaming scene. But something to keep in mind is that the survey was conducted for PopCap, a company that publishes its games mainly on mobile and PC.
Free-to-play games like Snoopy’s Street Fair are big contributors to mobile gaming’s popularity.
There’s also the matter of revenue and profit. Dennis Ryan, VP of Worldwide Publishing at PopCap, acknowledges that ‘Consumers are embracing the shift toward freemium games and other add-on game content purchases, driving the dramatic and rapid shift in the forms of monetization being used by developers and publishers.’ Indeed, free-to-play (FTP) games have certainly driven more people to the pastime, but separate surveys have pointed out several times that it can be very difficult for publishers to make money off the FTP model.
In other words, PopCap’s survey confirms what we already suspected: that people like mobile games for cheap, casual, easy-to-play experiences (not to mention passing the time on a bus, or while waiting in line), whereas console is still king for deeper, longer games.
Then again, with tablets becoming more powerful, we have to wonder ‘How long will that last?’
How often do you sit down with your console games in relation to your mobile games?