Where's The Cash In Mobile Gaming?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Where's The Cash In Mobile Gaming?

A new survey from EEDAR—a company specializing in research into the gaming market—has recently unveiled some unexpected truths about the field, specifically, who's spending money on mobile gaming, and several other facts besides.

The EEDAR survey covered fully 3,000 mobile gamers, accounting for both smartphone and tablet gamers, and what it found was quite surprising. It turns out, according to the EEDAR survey, that in terms of spending on games, it's men who spend the most at virtually every potential level of spending. The top five percent of spenders, for example, are two thirds—66 percent—male. The number is nearly identical at 65 percent for gamers who don't pay at all when it comes to mobile gaming, but the gender is reversed: it's the ladies that account for the largest portion of non-paying gamers.

Further, those big spenders are also big in terms of time spent gaming; the “whale”--or the highest-level spender—put in on average 11.8 hours a week on just mobile games. Whales, further, spend about one hour in four of their waking lives on some kind of game. What's more, the typical non-paying player is only playing for 4.1 hours a week, on average, which compares reasonably well to payers—that level between whale and non-payer—though non-payers play mainly on mobile devices as opposed to any other device.

Those facts alone suggest some very stark realities. For instance, those who believe that women should be more represented in gaming are likely to be stymied by this report, as the numbers simply don't support it. At least, not yet; the realities of the business community suggest that, at least for now, the business is largely male. Men are playing more, spending more, and in greater numbers than the ladies are, so making games geared toward the tastes and interests of ladies will result in a game that deliberately targets a smaller market that's spending less. To suggest that game companies should voluntarily develop games for a smaller market is a tough call to say the least.

But then, by like token, it's easy for the converse to apply here. Perhaps the female market is a pent-up market, a market that would be more fully involved if it had the kind of titles that appealed to it, and right now, the titles really aren't there except for the mobile market. The problem with this argument, however, is that it's somewhat circular. Is the issue that the ladies aren't gaming because there aren't titles for them, or is the issue that there aren't titles made for them because they aren't gaming? Essentially, the question is, would they show up, would they be whales, if there were more titles fitting their comparatively unique tastes? Indeed, there are female whales out there—roughly one for every two male whales—so there's a possibility. But game companies can't pay bills on possible markets.

Still, the results of the study are very interesting, and pose some exciting questions for the future. The ball appears to be in the ladies' court now; to really get the kind of games that ladies would enjoy, the answer is just to hit the current markets harder. More female whales will draw developers—business almost inevitably goes where the cash is—and that would really shake up the market.
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