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ComScore: U.S. Mobile Gamer Base Declines, Smartphones To Pick Up Slack

Research firm ComScore said that the number of mobile gamers in the U.S. dropped 13 percent over the last year, but smartphone gamers are poised to pick up the slack.
Research firm ComScore said that the number of mobile gamers in the U.S. dropped 13 percent over the last year, but smartphone gamers -- which includes iPhone users -- are poised to pick up the slack. ComScore's research showed that there were 58.6 million mobile gamers in February 2009, and 50.9 million in February 2010. The decline was driven by a 35 percent drop in non-smartphone gamers -- the number of smartphone gamers actually grew 60 percent over last year. "Although the number of mobile gamers has declined in the past year, there is reason for significant optimism about the future of this market," said Mark Donovan, ComScore senior analyst and SVP of mobile. "As the market transitions from feature phones to smartphones, the dynamics of gameplay are also shifting towards a higher quality experience. As a result, we can expect to see a profound increase in adoption of this activity, both in terms of audience size and overall engagement," he added. Smartphone gamers are also typically more avid gamers overall. ComScore said that 47.1 percent of smartphone users play games at least once a month on their devices; only 15.7 percent of non-smartphone users play games at the same rate. In addition, 27.3 percent of smartphone users have installed at least one game, versus just 5.6 percent of feature phone users. The top game genre for users over 13 years old was arcade puzzle games, followed by card games and then word/number games, ComScore said. "Smartphones offer a more accessible and compelling mobile gaming experience that is enabling adoption of this behavior, even among consumers who have not traditionally been gamers," said Donovan. "Marketers and advertisers ought to be paying close attention to the opportunity this presents for reaching consumers in new and engaging ways in a cross-platform environment. The potential for highly creative marketing efforts is exciting," he added.

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