Tablet adoption pushing mobile gaming to new level
The number of Americans who have downloaded mobile games has more than doubled in the past three years, a study from research firm Parks Associates finds, as enthusiasm for smartphones and tablet computers continues to climb.
Eighteen percent of U.S. gamers indicate they regularly downloaded mobile games in 2011, up from just 7 percent in 2008. Tablet owners are especially prominent in this trend, with 71 percent of adults and 79 percent of teens saying they play games on their tablets for an hour or more each month.
As people continue to gravitate toward mobile gaming, app developers will have greater opportunities to generate revenue. Pietro Macchiarella, a research analyst at Parks Associates, says even free games are proving lucrative, as many gamers are inclined to make in-app purchases.
"In-app purchases greatly expand monetization of the free-to-play model, thanks to seamless payments," Macchiarella says. "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"
Many have questioned whether tablet computers and smartphones will ever appeal to serious gamers. While the form factors do put some restrictions on the gaming experience, developments in the technology -- such as multi-core processors -- are pushing mobile gaming to new heights and attracting a wider audience.