Half of U.S. and U.K. mobile gamers favor mobile devices as their primary home game platform, according to a new survey released today by PopCap Games, a division of EA.

Part of an extensive research project that projects a 125 million mobile gamer population in the U.S. and U.K, the survey reveals that mobile gaming doesn’t necessarily mean “gaming on the go,” with many mobile gamers stating that their favorite place to play mobile games is at home on the couch or while laying in bed. Conducted by independent research firm Information Solutions Group, the survey analyzed the behavior and play habits of mobile gamers, defined as those who have played a mobile game in the past month.

“We already know that people play mobile games ‘on the go,’ but now we are seeing mobile gamers largely favor their mobile devices for home use.” says Dennis Ryan, vice president of Worldwide Publishing at PopCap. “If you add the fact we are seeing a deluge of new gamers coming in through mobile, we believe mobile gaming is invading the last bastion of video game consoles and personal computers: the home.”

The full results of the survey can be found at http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/2012_PopCap_Where_People_Play_Mobile_Games.pdf, but following are highlights from the findings:

50% of the mobile gamers in the survey agreed that mobile gaming is their favored method of game play at home over traditional consoles, computers and handheld gaming devices. Tablet-only players preferred home play on mobile devices even more (57%).

According to the new survey, the top five places to play mobile games are: at home on the couch (69% of U.S. and U.K. gamers surveyed), at home laying in bed (57%), as a passenger in a car or on a bus or train (63%), waiting for an appointment (55%) and while watching television (41%). Those who play mobile games exclusively on tablets confirmed that they play more at home on the couch (78%) and while watching TV (52%) than other mobile gamers. Those who stated that they play mobile games only on a smartphone were more likely to play in situations that required waiting, such as while at a restaurant, in line at a store, or at an appointment.

Many reported playing mobile games in offbeat places: a combined total of 10% confessed to playing mobile games either in a church or other place of worship, or while driving a car and/or while watching a movie at a theater. Of those surveyed, 8% confirmed they had played mobile games while in class at school and 9% had played at a sporting event.

Six percent of those surveyed had played mobile games at work during a meeting or a conference call, and 4% had played while at the gym. Almost one out of 10 mobile gamers (9%) reported that they had been late or missed an appointment, class, ride or flight because they were caught up playing a mobile game. 

These distracted gamers and those who play in unorthodox places tend to be male (60%), younger than 35 years old (69%) and play frequently (78% play daily). This group also spends more money on mobile games (75% of this group spent money on games in the past year vs. 51% of the overall mobile gamer population) and are more likely to play mobile games with friends (85% play weekly, vs. 52% among overall mobile players). They plan to spend an average of US$49.63 in 2012 on mobile games, game currency or content vs. $29.04 overall. 
This international research was conducted by Information Solutions Group (ISG; www.infosolutionsgroup.com) exclusively for PopCap Games. The results are based on 2,301 online surveys completed by members of the world’s largest online ePanel (Toluna) in the United States and United Kingdom between April 25 and May 1, 2012.  To qualify for the survey, individuals had to own and use a mobile phone. Among these mobile phone owners, 1,004 were identified as mobile gamers (those who played a game on their mobile phone in the past month).

In addition, 712 of the mobile device owners were also identified as smartphone owners, while 361 were identified as tablet owners. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results will differ by no more than 2.3 percentage points from what would have been obtained by seeking out and polling all U.S. and U.K. mobile phone owners age 18 and over. Smaller subgroups reflect larger margins of sampling error. Other sources of error, such as variations in the order of questions or the wording within the questionnaire, may also contribute to different results.