Mobile gaming and smartphones bringing nontraditional players into the gaming audience

by Parks Associates | Jul. 20, 2011

Almost one-third of people in the U.S. over 13 play mobile games monthly, and the number of gamers in older demographics more than doubled since 2007, according to Parks Associates.

The international research firm's new report Mobile/Portable Gaming: Market Updates finds the user base for gaming has expanded into nontraditional segments thanks to the popularity of mobile apps and titles such as Rovio’s Angry Birds. These changes will also force creation of new business models to generate revenues, with in-app purchases currently the most successful.

Penetration of smartphones and tablets, competition in app marketplaces, and better payment methods have also fueled growth. The challenge for next-generation portable consoles, the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, is to appeal to this larger audience and migrate more casual gamers to their platforms.

People are already adopting smartphones in large numbers. Low-priced games and the freemium model are incentivizing people to try out mobile games. However, these business models, even if implemented on portable consoles, will not drive consumers to buy new devices. Instead, people follow valuable content. If popular mobile titles are ported to dedicated gaming devices and enhanced with better graphics, controls, and storylines, manufacturers such as Sony and Nintendo will be able move loyal mobile gamers to their new platforms.

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