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Gamers Get Their Fix From Tablets and Smartphones

Gaming has surpassed checking email as the second most frequent activity on a tablet

Much like consumers of video content, gamers are flocking to tablets to take advantage of the devices’ blend of portability and relatively large screens.

On average, tablet gamers downloaded 22 games over the past year, according to a study of US internet users conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates for gaming company PlayFirst. And gaming was the second most popular overall activity on a tablet, behind only accessing the web, the study found.

Tablet gamers were not just scouring app stores for freebies, either—about one-third of the games they downloaded were paid for, underscoring consumer willingness to fork over cash for titles deemed worth their time and effort. Respondents using tablets also said they had more often paid for games than for any other type of content.

Gaming was a significantly less popular activity on smartphones, the study found. Part of this divide was thought to be due to the fundamentally different way consumers use smartphones, and some of it was attributed to smartphones' smaller screens.

Smartphone gamers not only downloaded a smaller average number of games over the past year than their tablet-using counterparts, they also were less inclined to pay for them. While gamers downloaded an average of 13 games over the past year—an increase of 30% over the previous 12-month period—they paid for only two of them.

But the study also saw potential for the monetization of gaming content beyond the games’ initial purchase. Tablet users spent an average of $62 on in-game virtual goods, while smartphone gamers spent an average of $25. In the aggregate, those figures can add up to a tidy sum; eMarketer estimates that there will be 94.6 million mobile gamers in the US by the end of the year, rising to 138.3 million by 2015.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Advertisers Slow to Capitalize on Connected TV Consumption” and “Online Travel Sales Make Up 83% of Ecommerce in India.”

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