According to Newzoo’s latest Trend Report on Mobile Games, those that use their smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch for gaming in America has now surpassed the 100 million mark, a 35 percent year-on-year increase, while Europe demonstrated growth of around 15 percent to 70 million gamers in seven key categories.

Gamers in this category are 52 percent men in the U.S. and 55 percent in Europe. Mobile gaming took 13 percent of all time spent on games worldwide in 2011, totaling more than 130 million hours a day, and 9 percent of total money spent on games, grossing $5.8 billion.

The free-to-play business model is increasingly important to the mobile gaming sector accounting for 79 percent of mobile game spending in Europe and 90 percent in the U.S.; paid games tend to generate most of their revenue up front rather than over time. In February, the top 5 grossing games for Europe and U.S. were all free games, with Dragonvale, Smurfs’ Village and Zynga Poker topping the charts.

69 percent of U.S. mobile gamers play games on a smartphone, 21 percent on a tablet and 18 percent on an iPod Touch. Figures for Europe are very similar at 69 percent, 16 percent and 11 percent.

“The recent launch of the new iPad did not bring us the edgeless display and other innovations we were hoping for, but… the two main upgrades, processing power and resolution, dramatically improve the immersive experience of ‘core’ games on that platform,” adds Newzoo’s CEO Peter Warman. “The intuitive interface forces developers to offer more casual gameplay, ensuring the games cater to a far broader audience, including the young moms and dads who used to play core games on their PC, Xbox or PlayStation. Immersive experience and casual gameplay combined is what ‘mid-core’ gaming is about.”

It’s worth noting that while these mobile platforms are seen as being “casual” there’s a significant crossover with core gamers, with 62 percent in the U.S. and 67 percent in Europe playing on PC/consoles and mobile platforms. Sven Ossebruggen, Co-CEO of Xyrality comments, “The success of Lords and Knights is based on targeting the experienced o-players from the browser area waiting for  a real strategy MMO in the mobile space. The players especially like the fact that they can play online at all times of the day.”

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