Smartphone Adoption Shifting Dynamics of U.S. Mobile Gaming Market

Despite 13 Percent Decline in Number of Mobile Gamers in Past Year, Heavy Mobile Gaming on Smartphones Suggests Market Poised for Growth

RESTON, VA, April 14, 2010 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study on mobile gaming highlighting the potential for growth in the mobile gaming market despite a 13-percent decline in the number of U.S. mobile gamers during the past year. This overall decline was driven by a 35 percent decline in mobile gaming among feature phone (i.e. non-smartphone) subscribers, who represent approximately 80 percent of the market, which contrasted with the sizeable 60 percent increase in the number of gamers via smartphone.

Mobile Subscribers Who Have Played Games at Least Once During the Month
3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2009
Total U.S., Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Mobile Subscribers (000) Who Have Played Games At Least Once During the Month
Feb-09 Feb-10 Percent Change
Total 58,603 50,932 -13%
Non-Smartphone 45,236 29,538 -35%
Smartphone 13,368 21,395 60%

 “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 SVP Mobile and senior analyst. “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.”

Smartphone Subscribers Heavier Mobile Gamers

The inevitable ascent of the mobile gaming market depends not only on smartphone subscribers’ higher propensity to play games on their mobile devices, but also their heavier gaming activity across nearly every dimension. Smartphone subscribers (47.1 percent) are three times more likely than feature phone subscribers (15.7) to play games on their device at least once a month. They are more than five times as likely to play games almost every day and far surpass their feature phone counterparts across various methods of game play.

Smartphone subscribers also install significantly more games on their devices with 27.3 percent having installed at least one game compared to just 5.6 percent of feature phone subscribers. A third of smartphone subscribers with games have more than five games installed on their phones, while less than one percent of feature phone subscribers have that many games installed.

Mobile Subscribers Who Have Played Games at Least Once During the Month
3 Months Ending February 2010
Total U.S., Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Percent (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Smartphone Non-Smartphone
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 100.0 100.0
Mobile Game Play Frequency    
Ever in month 47.1 15.7
Almost every day 13.3 2.4
At least once each week 16.4 5.0
Once to three times throughout the month 17.4 8.2
Method of Game Play    
Played downloaded games 27.7 5.8
Played native/preloaded games 25.0 10.9
Used browser to play games 5.1 1.6
Number of Games Installed on Handset    
At Least 1 27.3 5.6
1-2 9.0 3.2
3-5 9.0 1.7
6+ 9.4 0.6

“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,” added 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.”

Top Genres of Mobile Games

Smartphone subscribers are more likely to play mobile games than feature phone subscribers across every gaming genre. The genre with the highest penetration among smartphone subscribers is Arcade Puzzle games at 12.9 percent, followed by Card games (11.9 percent), Word/Number games (11.4 percent) and Casino games (7.6 percent). While casual game genres have higher penetration than hardcore genres (sports, racing, action/adventure, first-person shooter), the hardcore genres exhibit significantly higher adoption among smartphone subscribers. This finding highlights the importance of the smartphone medium in driving adoption of higher quality gaming experiences.

Top Genres of Games Played on Mobile Devices
3 Months Ending February 2010
Total U.S., Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Percent (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Smartphone Non-Smartphone
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 100.0 100.0
Arcade puzzle 12.9 2.5
Card 11.9 1.5
Word or Number 11.4 1.2
Casino 7.6 1.2
Retro arcade 6.3 0.9
Board 5.4 0.9
Quiz 3.9 0.6
Strategy 3.7 0.6
Sports 3.3 0.7
Racing 3.0 0.4
Action/adventure 2.5 0.3
Music/Rhythm 2.3 0.2
First person shooter 2.0 0.2
Other 1.3 0.2

About Comscore
Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Andrew Lipsman
Comscore, Inc.
+1 312 775 6510


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