Smartphones Provide Extra Mana for Mobile Games Industry

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

comScore reports that the number of people downloading a mobile game grew 17 percent from November 2007 to November 2008 when 8.5 million people or 3.8 percent of mobile subscribers downloaded a game to their mobile device.

"The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in the United States has provided a boost for mobile gaming, as 34 percent of those downloading a game in November did so using a smartphone," said Mark Donovan, senior analyst, comScore.  "Last year, not one smartphone appeared in the top 10 devices used for mobile downloads. This year, six out of 10 are smartphones, excluding devices with smartphone-like functionality, such as the Instinct and Voyager, which also make appearances."

The iPhone and BlackBerry Curve have replaced the RAZR and low-end flip phones as the most popular gaming platforms, according to comScore.  In fact, the number of smartphone owners downloading a game nearly tripled, while dipping 14 percent among owners of feature phones.  iPhone owners accounted for 14 percent of mobile game downloaders in November, with 32.4 percent of all iPhone users reporting they downloaded a game in the month, compared with a market average of 3.8 percent.

Downloaded Mobile Game by Platform
Three-month average ending November 2007 vs. November 2008 US Mobile Phone Users (000s)

2007 (000s)
2008 (000s)
Smartphones 734 2,869 291%
Non-Smartphones 6,486 5,593 -14%
Total 7,220 8,463 17%

"As the mobile phone has evolved into a better platform for both playing and merchandising games, the games being offered have also been improved, drawing in a broader user base," observed Donovan. "Over the past year, we have seen mobile gaming expand into a broadening demographic, with strongest growth among teens, who previously eschewed their mobile device in favor of handheld gaming devices, and those 35 and older."

comScore M:Metrics also announced the results of its Mobile Benchmark Study. With the exception of ringtone purchases, which fell 1.1 percent from October to November, all mobile content categories posted strong growth, most notably downloaded application usage and access to social networking. Below are the complete results of the November 2008 Mobile Benchmark Study. 

Three-month average ending November 2008 US Mobile Subscribers

Activity Audience (000s) Reach
(of all Mobile Subscribers)
Change vs. Month Ago
Sent/received photos or videos 63,736 27.7% 5.6%
Received SMS ads 54,922 23.9% 8.2%
Accessed news/info via browser 41,894 18.2% 9.7%
Used email 38,370 16.7% 6.3%
Listened to music 21,006 9.1% 8.5%
Accessed social networking sites 20,668 9.0% 14.2%
Played downloaded game 20,468 8.9% 6.1%
Purchased ringtones 19,556 8.5% -1.1%
Accessed downloaded application 18,337 8.0% 15.8%
Watched Video 7,523 3.3% +5.6%

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Tags: iphone  sms  social networking  smartphone  smartphones  comscore  blackberry  ringtone  mobile content  mobile gaming  razr 

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