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Report: Growth of mobile game usage slowed significantly in 2014

Mobile game usage by smartphone and tablet owners isn't growing as quickly as the rest of the mobile app market, but it's still showing signs of steady growth year-over-year as the category matures.

Time spent playing mobile games on smartphones and tablets continues to grow, but at a reduced pace compared to years past.

That's according to a new report from Yahoo-owned mobile analytics firm Flurry, which suggests that mobile game usage in 2014 (chart embedded below) grew 30 percent compared to 2013.

That's a bit anemic compared to the 66 percent growth in game usage the firm reportedly saw from 2012 to 2013, and it's downright meager compared to the 76 percent growth in the overall app market that Flurry recorded in 2014. 

The growth in mobile games usage throughout 2014 was easily outstripped by the rising popularity of "shopping" or "lifestyle" apps, which saw a triple-digit rise in popularity last year as more people turn away from shopping via mobile web browsers and focus on dedicated shopping apps.

Growth in time spent in entertainment apps (music, movies, etc.) also slowed this year, leading Flurry analysts to suggest that demand in the mobile market is shifting from games and other diversions to tools that help people accomplish daily tasks.

However, the company posits that 2015 will be the year that mobile messaging giants like WeChat and LINE make big inroads into Western mobile markets. This is in line with recent efforts by the likes of Gree, LINE and Tencent to invest millions in mobile game developers to make dedicated games for their platforms as they eye global expansion.

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