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4 Things to Know About the Difference Between iOS and Android Mobile Gamers

Ever wonder who's playing on Android and iOS? The demographics are changing and the numbers don't lie. Here's a little insight on the similarities and differences between an Apple and Android gamer.

Nate Barker, Blogger

August 4, 2015

5 Min Read

This post originally appeared on Playbook, Chartboost's blog dedicated to the business of mobile gaming.

Not all mobile gamers are created equal. A “gamer” is no longer a 20-something dude in the midwest. She’s a teenager in India, he’s a businessman in Tokyo, they’re a family in Buenos Aires. As of 2014, Big Fish Games reports that 48 million people play games on smartphones and tablets in the US alone.

While there’s no way to know each of these players intimately, developers can look at different behavioral patterns of mobile gamers through different types of data in order to create and iterate successfully. One place to look is at the two dominant platforms in the space: iOS and Android.

While there are a number of commonalities between the typical iOS and Android gamer, the differences make it clear that a developer can’t necessarily treat the two the same or expect the similar results from both. The most striking difference between profiles is user value, despite similarities in patterns of gameplay and game tastes.

Before we parse out the differences, though, here are a few things both iOS and Google Play gamers do agree on:

1. Day of the week

Both player groups have peak game play activity on the weekends. Saturday takes the cake, followed by Sunday and Friday. It’s likely there is a contingent of heavy gamers who play steadily regardless of day of week, and the weekend volume is being driven — in part — by players who wait until the weekend to play.

2. Ad engagement

Both groups are more than twice as likely to download games after seeing video ads versus static ads. Video ads are offer a great deal of opportunity for advertisers to showcase real gameplay to potential players.

… And here’s where they differ:

3. Location

Even though the top location for both groups of gamers is the US*, the second and third largest countries of residence are China and the UK for iOS, and Brazil and Russia for Google Play. Because there is a hugely fragmented Android marketplace in China, China ranks tenth for user concentration for the Google Play platform (with many China Android users engaging with games downloaded from Android-based Google Play competitor stores).

*Data based on Chartboost network which, despite having large global reach, is US-based.

4. Devices

iOS players love large visuals: The top devices used by iOS gamers are iPhone 6, iPhone 4S and the iPad mini (Wi-Fi Only/1st Gen). The top devices used by Google Play gamers are different versions of the Samsung Galaxy: the S4, S3 and then the S5 (all of which have a similar screen size to the iPhone 6).

As more players enter the mobile gaming space, developers must use data tools in order to best understand the people who are engaging with their titles. Learning about specific behavior on a platform is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a great place to start.

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