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Mobile gaming increasing thanks to tablet market

A new report from global information company The NPD Group has revealed the average time spent playing games on mobile devices has increased 57% in the last two years. 

The reports outlines mobile gamers are playing more often and for longer periods of time than they were in 2012. A typical day has increased to over two hours per day in 2014 versus one hour and 20 minutes in 2012.

The growth of the tablet market, as well as continued improvement of tablet technology, has seen these devices become central to the mobile gaming story. 

Not only are tablets the devices being played on the most, but tablet gamers are also more likely to pay for games and to spend more money on average than gamers on other mobile platforms.

“Continued mobile growth will stem from existing customers paying more to play, especially in the free-to-play portion of the market,” says Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group.  “A positive sign of consumer behaviour trending this way is the fact that more than twice the number of app gamers reported making an in-game purchase than they did when we conducted this study two years ago,” he says.

Age Matters The average number of playing sessions are at their highest from ages 6 to 44. However, the average number of minutes per session peaks in the tween years, then falls through the teenage and early adult years.

Kids ages 2 to 12 are spending the greatest proportion of their device time on gaming versus other activities. This age group is also playing more games (average of 5 games), as well as more games that were paid for (average of 3 games). 

The average amount of money spent by this age group over the past 30 days on new games, and in-game purchases is also one of the highest, second only to mobile gamers in the 25-44 age group. “There’s no denying the important role kids play in driving revenue,” says Callahan, “but it’s the adult gamers who are spending more than kids and teens. This group also tends to be the decision-makers for their young children’s gaming experiences, making them a prime target for developers and marketers alike.”

The impact of mobile play on other devices The NPD Group says the majority of mobile gamers are also playing video games on other platforms/devices, with only one in five players being mobile-only gamers. However, the company says regardless of the number of devices used to play games, mobile devices have the greatest amount of playtime.

While time spent gaming on mobile devices is increasing, traditional gaming devices haven’t been abandoned. In fact, console and computer gamers are playing just as much as they were one year ago.