New whitepaper - Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social and Mobile Games

by Parks Associates | Feb. 7, 2012

The percentage of U.S. gamers who regularly download games or gaming apps to their mobile devices increased from 7% in 2008 to 18% in 2011, growing in parallel with rising adoption of smartphones and tablets, according to a new whitepaper from Parks Associates. Among tablet owners, 71% of adults and 79% of teens play games on the device at least one hour per month. This growth of mobile gaming is expanding the revenue stream for Facebook games, where gamers already spend $29 per month, and free-to-play games, where gamers spend $21 per month to purchase virtual goods and upgrades.

The whitepaper “Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games" shows the game industry is poised for a significant shift in revenue models as smartphones and tablets are changing the gaming population and how players pay for games. Players can easily make in-game purchases, without having to create a new, separate account, because the game payment system is integrated with their established mobile and app-store accounts.

In-app purchases greatly expand monetization of the free-to-play model, thanks to seamless payments. Already, most of the top grossing games on iTunes and Android can be downloaded for free and generate the majority of their revenues via virtual purchases. While mobile players are often characterized as 'casual gamers,' they spend a comparable amount of money on free-to-play titles as their peers spend on console games.

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