Tuesday, July 12, 2011

iPhone games over-indexing for monthly usage says Nielsen

Apple-owning mobile gamers spend 14.7 hours a month playing, but it's a different story for BlackBerry

The average iPhone gamer spends nearly twice as much time playing every month as the industry average for smartphone gamers, according to new research published by Nielsen in the US. Its latest survey finds that iPhone gamers play for an average for 14.7 hours a month, ahead of Android gamers' 9.3 hours a month.

Both are above the industry average of 7.8 hours, since other devices under-index considerably. Windows Phone gamers spend 4.7 hours a month playing according to Nielsen, while feature phone and BlackBerry owners spend 4.5 hours a month.

Those figures won't make for pleasant reading at Microsoft, which has made the Xbox Live community a key selling point for Windows Phone 7 devices. There is some better news for the company: its users are the most likely to download games. Of WP7 users who have played a game in the last 30 days, 70% downloaded it, versus 69% for iPhone and 66% for Android.

It's a different story for feature phone owners, with 54% playing games preloaded on their devices, while 28% have downloaded them. BlackBerry scores even worse on this metric: according to Nielsen, 24% of BlackBerry gamers are playing downloaded games, versus 63% playing preloaded titles.

Developers piling into the emerging sector of mobile web gaming may be encouraged by the fact that 10% of iPhone and Android users say they are playing web-based games on their devices.

Overall, games come out strongly from Nielsen's research. Of people who have downloaded at least one app in the last month, 64% say they have played games in that period. That's the most popular category ahead of weather (60%), social networking (56%), the slightly awkward catch-all category of maps/navigation/search (51%) and music (44%).

The research also finds that 93% of app downloaders are willing to pay for the games that they play, compared to 76% for news. Not that this is a reason for publishers of news apps to be glum ? it's certainly a conversion rate they can work with.

Nielsen's survey will bolster the credibility of mobile gaming ? on certain platforms at least ?�with traditional games publishers. It comes hot on the heels of analyst firm Gartner's prediction that by 2015, mobile gaming will account for 20% of global games software sales.

"As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices," said the company's principal research analyst Tuong Nguyen. "Although they are never used primarily for gaming, mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores."

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