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A new survey has found that owners of smartphones are the most avid consumers of mobile phone games, and mobile phones have overtaken video game consoles and personal computers as the primary gaming device of choice.

The survey, carried out by Information Solutions Group for PopCap Games which specialises in casual video games, found that 83% of mobile phone gamers who own a smartphone said they had played a game within the past week.

92% of smartphone owners who play mobile games say they play at least once a week, and 45% say they play daily (compared to 35% of all mobile phone gamers).

A similar survey conducted for PopCap two years ago found that only 13% of mobile phone gamers said they played daily, and 40% said they played weekly or more often.

Dennis Ryan, EVP of Worldwide Publishing at PopCap, said: “Mobile games are, along with social games, the hottest sector of the video game industry by far. As more people purchase smartphones and the entire process of finding, purchasing and playing mobile games becomes as simple as browsing the internet, the mobile games market is going to accelerate even more.”

Among all mobile phone gamers, 50% said that the amount of time they spend playing games on their handset had increased over the past year, and among smartphone owners the figure climbs to 63%; in the 2009 survey, only 20% of mobile gamers indicated their consumption of mobile games had increased.

A further 78% indicated that playing mobile phone games had become a regular part of their weekly activities, and more than half (59%) indicated that they saw such games as a regular part of their daily activities; for smartphone owners the figures were 84% and 68%, respectively.

When asked which gaming-capable device they play games on most often, 44% of mobile phone gamers chose their phones, catapulting handsets past video game consoles (21%) and computers (30%) to the top of the list.

51% of avid mobile gamers and 55% of those mobile gamers who own smartphones indicated they played games most often on their phones. This compares to just 17% of mobile gamers who chose their handset as their most frequently used gaming device in the 2009 survey.

Gamers on mobiles are also being enticed by free trials of games, with 43% of all mobile gamers, and 49% of smartphone gamers admitting they had upgraded a free trial game to the full (paid) version in the past year. More than a quarter (27%) of all mobile gamers, and a third (34%) of smartphone gamers, said they had paid for additional content for an originally free game in the past year.

However, smartphone owners appear to be the most hungry for games among mobile phone gamers, with the average smartphone owner purchasing nearly twice as many games as those with other types of phones (5.4 games vs. 2.9 games) in 2010. Smartphone owners also spent almost $10 more ($25.57 vs. $15.70) on phone games.


 

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