A popular hypothesis about mobile gaming is that the easy-to-use portable platforms are splintering the industry. Many of us believe people are playing games on phones and tablets while ignoring the PC, consoles, and dedicated handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita.
Surprisingly, that may not be the case. According to a report from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and The NPD Group, mobile gaming is growing, but its success is also helping the industry to expand in America.
The report, titled Mobile Games: Expanding Gameplay Across America, reveals one-third of Americans over the age of 13 play games on their smartphones and tablets. Out of that group, two-thirds state playing mobile games hasn’t cut into their time with consoles or PCs. Reportedly, 54% of mobile game players say their overall playtime hasn’t changed across devices.
Moreover, as you might suspect, mobile platforms introduce non-gamers to the pastime. 22% of mobile game players never played games (or had previously played games, but abandoned them) before starting up on mobile. Also, 42% of mobile gamers bought a game on PC, console, or a handheld system because they enjoyed the mobile version. That’s not hard to believe, as some game genres – action games in particular – are not well-suited for the virtual control pads that typically show up in mobile- and- tablet-based games.
Michael D. Gallagher, the president and CEO of ESA, says the report “underscores the dynamic and evolving nature of the video game industry.”
“Consumers want the ability to play anywhere. Our industry continues to anticipate and meet consumers’ expectations by finding new ways to engage users across multiple platforms.”
However you feel about mobile games, it’s interesting to see the medium projected as a “gateway drug” as opposed to the massive industry destroyer some analysts condemn it as.