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Nearly half of game downloads go mobile

Games for mobile devices now represent half of all game downloads, with a strong showing even among people with a dedicated console for online gaming, according to NPD.

Games for mobile devices now account for almost half of all the game downloads, according to an NPD Group report released today.

Even most of the gamers who use a dedicated console to play online are spending the largest chunk of their change on games for mobile devices. The rest of their game funds are going toward titles downloaded for PCs, full consoles, portable consoles, and other systems.

Game Dev Story is just one of scores of popular mobile titles. Kairosoft

"Mobile gaming represents one of the fastest growing segments of the digital games market, and potential for future growth remains strong as more consumers are using smartphones for games of all types, including the increasingly popular mobile game apps," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement.

The surge in spending on games for mobile devices is taking a toll on the amount of money spent on physical games, though not dramatically, reported NPD. Among those gamers who bought a mobile game over the past three months, 60 percent said they're spending the same amount of money on console and portable games, but 40 percent said they're spending less on physical games.

Among gamers asked to decide between buying a physical game and a digital game (assuming the price and other factors were the same), 75 percent said they'd opt for a physical one simply because they like the experience of owning a "real" copy. The 25 percent who preferred to go digital cited the convenience of being able to download from home and avoid going to a store.

Though mobile game downloads are increasing in popularity, their prices are generally lower than those for physical games, affecting the money that the industry is taking in.

"It is important to keep in perspective that the full-game price points on mobile devices are generally lower than those for console and portable systems, so mobile's full game download unit share does not translate to a comparable level of consumer spend," Frazier explained.

To compile its data, NPD surveyed 8,214 individuals ages 2 and over from February 15 to March 14. Responses from those under 16 were conveyed by the child's parent.