Mobile gaming—from the most casual candy crusher to the obsessed champion—is a platform that spans gender, age, genre and lifestyle. About 1.9 billion people play mobile games, according to rewarded ad provider Tapjoy. Last year, mobile games brought in $40.6 billion worldwide—more than any other interactive entertainment medium. Let’s see who’s playing.
Meet The Players
Who plays mobile games? If you think it’s mostly teenagers, you’d be wrong. According to Tapjoy’s report The Changing Face of Mobile Gamers: What Brands Need to Know, the largest age group is made up of consumers 55 and over at 23 percent, followed by consumers ages 25-to-34 (21 percent) and 35-to-44 (19 percent). Teens 13-to-17 make up just 8.05 percent of mobile gamers, while those 18-to-24 are slightly higher at 13.56 percent.
Women represent the majority of mobile gamers, making up 63 percent of the total player base. Despite this revelation, 72 percent of the women surveyed said that they do not consider themselves a “gamer” even though 59 percent of women said they play games at least 10 times per week.
The vast majority of gamers (69 percent) said they play at least three-to-five times per day, while 71 percent of respondents play for an hour or more every day, and 21 percent play for more than three hours a day.
China has climbed to the No. 1 spot for iOS mobile game revenue, surpassing the US and Japan as of the second quarter of 2016. According to App Annie, China’s sudden domination is attributed to the explosive popularity of multiplayer collaborative games in the region. Although the rise of the Chinese market to global leader was impressive compared to the last two years, it’s not exactly surprising.
Together, China, the US and Japan are responsible for approximately 75 percent of gaming revenue on the iOS platform, with gaming as the single largest revenue driver. China alone nearly doubled the iOS App Store games revenue it had just a year earlier in second quarter of 2015.
What They’re Playing
Puzzle games are by far the most popular category, Tapjoy found, played by 59 percent of respondents, followed by strategy (38 percent), trivia (33 percent) and casino/card games (27 percent). Among the least popular games were player-versus-player (15 ) and sports (11 percent). The shooting category was least popular among mobile gamers at just eight percent.
Phones Over Tablets
When asked which devices they use to play mobile digital games, 78 percent of US respondents identified smartphones versus a tablet (59 percent) or laptop (47 percent), according to a study by PayPal and SuperData. In fact, the smartphone is the most popular gaming platform in nine out of the 10 countries surveyed.
Combined, mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets is the largest segment of the video game industry this year, accounting for 42 percent of the total global market with $35.3 billion. The segment also has the most gamers, Newzoo reports, with 2.1 billion. Mobile is expected to hold its titles as the largest gaming segment, growing with a CAGR (2016 to 2020) of 13.9 percent to claim 50 percent of the market by 2020.
Okay With Ads
In addition to becoming the largest segment of gamers in the world, US mobile gamers in particular are accustomed to ad-supported business models and microtransactions. The Modern Mobile Gamer: Advertising Preferences Revealed by Tapjoy explores the ways in which US consumers interact with mobile advertising within a gaming app. Out of the 2,615 survey participants, 21 percent said they preferred free, ad-supported games while 14 percent preferred a paid business model without ads. Similarly, a recent study by NPD revealed that a majority of mobile game users prefer to earn in-game currency over paying real money.
More than half of US consumers — 51 percent — said they are willing to watch at least four videos per day in exchange for rewards. Thirty-seven percent said they’d watch six or more videos per day, Tapjoy found.
Rewarded ads that yield in-game offers in exchange for watching or interacting with an ad were preferred by 69 percent of consumers in a Forrester Consulting study. Respondents said it’s critical that ads don’t disrupt their use of the app, and 67 percent indicated they wanted to be offered a reward, such as premium content or virtual currency in exchange for engaging with an ad.