Despite many companies’ efforts to clamp down on employees playing video games on company time, a study from PopCap Games finds that half of AT&T Wireless customers who play games on their mobile devices are now playing them at work, especially when they need a short break or want to relieve stress.
The study, which was undertaken to gauge the popularity of mobile gaming, revealed that 57% of AT&T Wireless customers use their wireless devices to play games, and on average, these gamers purchase four mobile games per year. In addition, 17% of mobile gamers consider their cell phone to be their primary device for playing video games.
Most Popular Games
The study found that Tetris (20%), Bejeweled (18%) and Solitaire (17%) were most frequently named as the games respondents enjoyed playing on their mobile phones.
The most popular genres of mobile games are:? Puzzle (66%) and Card/Casino (51%), with Board games (15%) and Action/Adventure (11%) a distant third and fourth.
Just 12% of mobile gamers say they play “hardcore” games, either on a cell phone or other device, the survey found.
When asked to name the most compelling characteristics that “motivate mobile game players to play the same game numerous times on their cell phone,” survey respondents cited “relaxing game play” (62%) and “addictiveness” (30%) as the top two influencers.
Additional? study findings:
- More than 50% of AT&T mobile gamers say they game as a distraction from daily life issues, while 40% say they game for relaxation and stress relief.
- 50% of AT&T mobile gamers say they play games during work hours, while one in seven mobile gamers most often plays games during work when they need a short break. Men report playing more mobile games at work than women.
- Nearly 60% of AT&T respondents indicate they play games on their wireless device at least once a month, and 40% say they play weekly or more often.
- 91% of mobile gaming sessions are 30 minutes or fewer; 62% are fewer than 15 minutes.
- More than three quarters (78%) of mobile gamers have been playing games on their phone for more than a year, and 55% of those say they’ve been playing for 3+ years.
- On average, 22% of mobile gamers’ total game playing time occurs on their mobile phones.
- When asked “when do you play games on your phone most often?” males selected “while waiting for an appointment” as their top choice (26%), as did females (45%). Among men, “during my work day, when I need a short break” was the second most common time to play (13%), while among women the second most popular time to play was “at night before I go to bed” (9%).
Mobile Gaming Poised for Growth
Despite the fact that the ratio of free-to-paid games remains low, the study suggests that mobile gaming is poised for growth in 2009, PopCap said. One-third of AT&T mobile gamers surveyed say they are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to purchase a game for their cell phone in 2009.
Currently, 26% of mobile gamers (26%) – or roughly 15% of all mobile phone users – say they have purchased a game, while 76% say they have played free games that came pre-installed on their phone. One-third (33%) indicate they have downloaded one or more free games to their phone.
Other findings about game purchases:
- The top factors influencing participants’ decisions to buy a mobile game are “game is in a genre I like” (61%), “price of the game is reasonable” (52%) and “played demo version and liked it” (50%).
- Survey respondents who have purchased one or more mobile games have purchased an average of 7.2 mobile games; 26% say they’ve purchased four or more games in the past year, with those newer to mobile gaming being more likely to purchase games for the phone.
- Among respondents who say they would not be buying a mobile game in 2009, the top three reasons for that decision were: “happy with free games” (24%), “none of the games interest me enough to buy” (15%), and “lack of time to play” (14%).
- When making the decision to purchase a game for their mobile phone, women are twice as likely (28% vs. 14% of men) to do so based on having played the game in question on another device such as a computer. Conversely, 30% of males indicated that printed or online reviews factor into their mobile game purchasing decision, compared to just 8% of females.
Men Play More Frequently, Women Play Longer
Though the study found that mobile gamers are evenly split across genders (51% male, 49% female), it revealed that men tend to play mobile games more frequently than women, PopCap said. Some 44% of male respondents said they play once a week or more often, compared with 35% of female respondents. However, women play for longer stretches of time. More than four in 10 (41%) women say their average mobile gaming session is 15 minutes or longer, compared with 35% of men.
About the study: The online survey was conducted by Information Solutions Group for PopCap Games. The results are based on a sample size of 1,163 respondents randomly selected between February 12 and March 6, 2009. The audience consisted of adult, North-American customers of AT&T’s mobile phone services.