PlayFirst, a mobile game publisher, has announced the results of the Magid Media Futures: Mobile 2011 study revealing key insights into mobile computing trends.

The study showed the dramatic shift to a “smartphone culture” continues with nearly half of non-smartphone owners considering purchase of a smartphone to replace their cell/feature phone in the next 12 months. The study shows that smartphones continue to redefine traditional phone use with playing games, social networking and accessing the internet being three to five times more prevalent among smartphone owners than traditional cell phone owners.

The study also shows that 45% of smartphone owners play games on their phones, and with smartphone ownership increasing rapidly, up 35% over 2010 and projected to reach 50% penetration in the US in the next few years, smartphones will have a profound impact on the way people play games. In fact, the Magid study found that among those who play games on their smartphone, the smartphone is the primary gaming device.

“We are seeing a ‘smartphone culture’ radically change the way we interact with content and media. Today’s consumers, and especially young users, view the phone not just as a device for calling and texting, but as a multi-use device for gaming, socializing and downloading apps, resulting in radical changes in behavior patterns,” says Mari Baker, president and CEO of PlayFirst.

“There is no doubt that mobile is the great disrupter of this decade, and perhaps for many years to come,” says Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid & Associates. “This study validates the tremendous impact smartphones are having on the way we live and play.”

When it comes to mobile gaming, the study shows growth will continue throughout the rest of 2011 and beyond. The study shows that of those not-playing smartphone games, 55% said they may start playing in the next 12 months. Nearly one-third of smartphone gamers who haven’t spent money on smartphone games say they could start in the next 12 months.

Additionally, the study shows a rapidly growing interest in buying in-game virtual goods on smartphones. In 2010 only 10% of respondents indicated such an interest; this number jumped to 46% in the 2011 study. Behavior patterns on smartphones differ significantly from social networking games, with a much greater percentage of smartphone games spending money on gameplay, and at much higher amounts.

This research was conducted by Frank N. Magid, Magid Media Futures practice and sponsored by PlayFirst. The study is a nationally representative online survey of 2,482 people, of whom 2,051 were between the ages of 18 and 64 and 431 were between the ages of 8 and 17. Data were collected from April 15 through April 20, 2011. For more information and selected results go to .