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Survey: one third of U.S. and U.K. adults are mobile phone gamers


PopCap Games, which makes casual video games, has announced the results of a new survey that found large increases in overall usage and frequency of mobile game playing among U.S. and U.K. adults.

The survey, conducted by Information Solutions Group, also found that among mobile phone gamers, the mobile phone is now the primary gaming device of choice, leapfrogging video game consoles and personal computers in less than two years. Further, “smartphone” owners (the fastest-growing mobile segment) are by far the most avid consumers of mobile phone games. These and other purchase and consumption trends identified in the survey suggest significant growth in the mobile games sector will continue for the foreseeable future.
Overall, more than half (52%) of the 2,425 survey respondents said they had played a game on a mobile phone at some time in the past; 73% of U.K. respondents said they had played a mobile phone game at least once, compared to 44% of U.S. residents surveyed. A portion of those U.K. respondents appear to have been one-time users, as most other usage data found similar activity and trends across the countries.

Approximately 33.6% of all adults in America and the United Kingdom have played a game on their mobile phone handset in the past month, qualifying them as “mobile phone gamers” for the purposes of the survey, and nearly a quarter (24.6%) have played in the past week, qualifying them as “avid mobile phone gamers.” Fully 83% of mobile phone gamers who own a smartphone said they’d played in the past week.
In May 2009, ISG conducted a similar study of mobile gamers on behalf of PopCap, specifically targeting AT&T mobile customers; where applicable, historical data from that earlier survey is presented below along with data from the newly completed survey. Complete results of the new survey can be found at:

° 84% of all mobile phone gamers, and 97% of avid mobile phone gamers say they play games on their phone at least once a week; 92% of smartphone owners who play mobile games say they play at least once a week, and 45% say they play daily (compared to 35% of all mobile phone gamers). In the 2009 survey, only 13% of mobile phone gamers said they played daily, and 40% said they played weekly or more often.

° Among all mobile phone gamers, 50% said that the amount of time they spend playing games on their handset has increased over the past year, and among smartphone owners the figure climbs to 63%; in the 2009 survey, only 20% of mobile gamers indicated their consumption of mobile games had increased.

° Among all mobile phone gamers, 78% indicated that playing mobile phone games had become a regular part of their weekly activities, and more than half (59%) indicated that they saw such games as a regular part of their daily activities; for smartphone owners the figures were 84% and 68%, respectively.

° When asked which gaming-capable device they play games on most often, 44% of mobile phone gamers chose their phones, catapulting handsets past video game consoles (21%) and computers (30%) to the top of the list. 51% of avid mobile gamers and 55% of those mobile gamers who own smartphones indicated they played games most often on their phones. This compares to just 17% of mobile gamers who chose their handset as their most frequently used gaming device in the 2009 survey.

° 43% of all mobile gamers, and 49% of smartphone gamers, said they had upgraded a free trial game to the full (paid) version in the past year; more than a quarter (27%) of all mobile gamers, and a third (34%) of smartphone gamers, said they had paid for additional content for an originally free game in the past year.

° Among mobile phone gamers, the average smartphone owner purchased nearly twice as many games as those with other types of phones (5.4 games vs. 2.9 games) in 2010, and spent almost $10 more ($25.57 vs. $15.70) on phone games.

° 19% of all mobile phone gamers said they played one or more social networking games via their phone daily, and more than a third (37%) said they play a social networking game via their phone at least once a week.

° Among all mobile phone gamers, 23% of all mobile phone device usage time (excluding phone calls) is spent playing games.

This international research was conducted by Information Solutions Group (http:/ exclusively for PopCap Games. The results are based on 2,425 online surveys completed by members of the world’s largest online ePanel (Toluna) in the United States and United Kingdom between Jan. 25 and Jan. 31, 2011. 

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