Smartphones are the Future of Mobile Gaming

ComScore’s latest report leaves little doubt that mobile gaming is increasingly dominated by smartphones and less by feature phones (i.e. non-smartphones). The numbers on the surface look worrisome, since the report indicated a 13% decline in the number of U.S. mobile gamers. Ouch. But if you look underneath the covers, that’s largely driven by a 35% decline in feature phone (i.e. non-smartphone) subscribers which more than offsets a 60%.. yes sixty percent growth in smartphone gaming. Here’s the comScore data in a nifty chart:

Mobile Subscribers Who Have Played Games at Least Once During the Month
3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2009
Total U.S., Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Mobile Subscribers (000) Who Have Played Games At Least Once During the Month
Feb-09 Feb-10 Percent Change
Total 58,603 50,932 -13%
Non-Smartphone 45,236 29,538 -35%
Smartphone 13,368 21,395 60%

More info is available at the ComScore website , from which we shamelessly lifted the above chart.  The gist of all this is that as smartphones become ubiquitous, the total number of mobile gamers is expected to rise at a pretty fast clip. That’s not surprising to us at Doubloon because we are gamers and we think some of the mobile games on the market are just wonderfully fun. The obvious question becomes when will smartphones overtake feature phones and thus when will mobile gaming surge. Silicon Alley Insider and Nielsen predict smartphones crossover from niche to majority will happen sometime in late 2011:

The next obvious question is do mobile players convert at similar rates to web, console, and social network gamers? Does the average optimal price for virtual goods exceed that of web games, or fall behind it? The data Doubloon has collected over several games is still inconclusive, but early signs point to similar conversion rates and generally similar optimal price points. If that holds, the future of mobile for game developers indeed looks bright.

(Note: this is a cross post from my Doubloon blog post here)

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This entry was published on April 15, 2010 at 11:36 PM. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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