Study helps better understand mobile gamers

Flurry Analytics releases evaluation of what today's mobile social gamer is all about. Also examines differences between a social gamer and traditional console users.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

The mobile social gamer is a different person than the traditional console player. Or at least that's what research firm Flurry Analytics concludes.

According to the researchers, the average age of the mobile social gamer is 28, several years younger than the average 34-year-old "traditional gamer." The company found in its survey of over 60,000 gamers that mobile social gaming is more prominent among people between the ages of 18 to 49. In fact, nearly 80 percent of those folks are playing casual titles on a mobile device. A little less than 50 percent of people in that age bracket play traditional games.

However, in other age brackets, traditional gaming still leads the pack. Flurry Analytics found that more than 20 percent of people under 18 are traditional gamers, compared to about 15 percent of mobile social gamers. Approximately 25 percent of folks over 50 play traditional games, while only about 5 percent of people in that age bracket play casual social games on a mobile device.

When it comes to gender, men still account for the majority of traditional gamers with 60 percent share, compared to 40 percent for women. However, in the social-gaming space, 53 percent of players are female, compared to the 47 percent who are male, according to the report.

The growth of mobile gaming has been meteoric in the past few years. Devices like the iPhone and Android-based smartphones have become central to the gameplay experiences of people around the globe. And the sheer number of smartphones in the wild, compared to consoles, is helping the mobile gaming market grow.

According to Flurry Analytics, it has "detected" more than 250 million iOS and Android-based devices around the world, and it believes more than 750,000 of those smartphones are being activated each day. The combined worldwide installed base of the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, is about 180 million, Flurry said. Approximately 200 million Nintendo DS and Sony PSP units are in the wild.

For now, the majority of mobile social gamers--64 percent--are in North America. About 30 percent of mobile gamers are in Europe. Asia accounts for just 4 percent of all of the world's mobile social gamers, while the remaining 2 percent are scattered elsewhere around the globe, according to Flurry.

The typical mobile gamer makes about $66,000 a year, Flurry found. Those who make less than $35,000 account for a little more than 5 percent of all mobile social gamers, while those who make more than $150,000 per year make up approximately 2 percent of that group.

When it's all said and done, Flurry Analytics believes today's average gamer is a much different person than in previous years.

"The video game industry is transitioning from an era of hardcore male gamers who have dominated the landscape, to more mass-market usage across mobile social games," Flurry Analytics said in a statement. "The Mobile Social Gamer segment is highly engaged, younger, made up of more females, more educated and more affluent.

"Mobile social gamers are the new mass-market powerhouse," the company said.