Mobile gaming – by the numbers

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Nokia has been doing some research into mobile gaming and they have come back with some stats around who is playing, how long they’re doing it and and which phone-based games are generating the most play time.

Of those who play games on their phones, the average user spends 7.8 hours a month playing. This number drops to 4.7 hours per month spent gaming when you take a look at feature phone owners. These numbers are relatively small when compared to console gamers, who can manage either of these times in a single session, but mobile gaming is typically slotted in whenever there is a spare moment.

This observation is borne out by the most-played locations, with the bedroom, living room and public transportation accounting for over 50% of game time (31, 16 and 12 percent respectively). What isn’t listed is the room with the porcelain chair, which likely sees a fair amount of cellular gaming as well. Globally men spend more time gaming than women, with the United States being the country with the closest split. In that country 58% of mobile gamers are men, the remainder are women. In all other markets men account for 60% or more of mobile gaming, rising as high as 70% in emerging markets.

Rovio, Zynga and Electronic Arts have some of the leading phone-based games, with Rovio’s Angry Birds topping the charts at 648 million downloads across the three titles in the series. EA’s Bejeweled has seen some 9 billion hours of game time since the game was launched and Draw Something, owned by Zynga, has clocked up 13 million minutes of play time since the game was launched in February this year.

Those who spend money to play games on a cellphone typically average between $8 and $15 a month, which is the same as the marked-down price of a single game on Valve’s Steam platform. It is estimated that the mobile gaming industry will be worth $11.4 billion by 2014. By comparison the global video gaming industry (not counting mobile games) was worth around $65 billion in total in 2011.

Mobile gaming, it seems, is on the rise, though it has a long way to go before it will match the profitability and time dedication that home console gaming commands.

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