Australians are moving away from buying their games in retail stores and 92 per cent of households own at least one gaming device, a new Australian research study has revealed.

As part of the research study titled Digital Australia 2012, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association and Bond University surveyed 1252 households comprising 3533 women, men and children in June.

The number of people downloading games has doubled and should “skyrocket” with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, which has been deemed as the most expensive broadband network in the world.

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Reasons gamers play video games
Leading chief researcher Jeff Brand believes that high-speed broadband offerings has fuelled the trend in digital online gaming, which is seeing a shift from console bound gaming to mobile smartphones and tablets.

Mobile phones and tablets are the most commonly used platforms for gaming, with 43 per cent of people using them. The reason for playing mobile games is to pass time,” he said.

In contrast, having fun was second with 37 per cent of gamers using conventional gaming consoles, such as Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Xbox’s 360.

Brand also noted that single player campaigns were ‘surprisingly’ rising despite the online phenomenon of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. He credits its continuously rising momentum to smartphones, but does predict an eventual shift to mobile online gaming as network speeds improve.


“The single player model for gaming has actually increased over the past [yearly] report and that’s because of mobile phone casual games.

“We expect more and more [smartphone] games to become increasingly internet enabled, if not in real time certainly in delayed time with one another.”

The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) claim the number of mobile phones alone exceed Australia’s population. This widespread availability, mobile advancements, increased data allowances and faster internet speeds has seen mobile application markets boom. Apple’s own App store now houses 450,000 applications, with Google following on 250,000 in a matter of years.

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Preferred ways consumers buy games
The accessibility of mobile gaming has also contributed to an increase in female gamers, rising from 38% in 2005 to 47% in 2011.

Forecasts indicate the Australian gaming industry will be worth $2.5 billion by 2015, expected to experience a compound annual growth of 9.5%.

Currently 43 per cent of Australians purchase boxed games from a local retailer, as 36% turn to online stores for their gaming needs.


However, the breakdown of gaming on tablets/smartphones vs traditional gaming consoles has not been revealed. Brand referred to the smartphone application market as the ‘ascendant’ form of gaming, with its growing popularity threatening the dominance of dedicated handheld and gaming consoles alike.

Recently, the industry has seen Nintendo’s 3Ds, Sony’s PSP, Xbox’s 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 endure price crashes, hoping to increase console sales. The trend is likely to continue as Google and Apple’s application stores nab some of the traditional gaming market.  

“Although Android phones will lead on total download numbers, iPhone will continue to dominate the AP market in terms of revenues from paid-for apps, reaching US$808 million in 2016, compared to US$394 million for Android,” said Ovum’s device analyst Nick Dillon.

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