For a majority of consumers, games are a crucial part of the smartphone experience, and the iPhone is smartphone gamer’s platform of choice, according to a December study from Arbitron Mobile.
Analyzing the behavior of 12,000 US Android, iPhone and BlackBerry users who had installed the Arbitron Mobile software, the company found iPhone users were 10 percentage points more likely than Android users to be gamers. While large majorities of both groups played games on their device, the study found that 85.7% of iPhone users did so vs. 76% of Android users.
The iPhone not only attracts a broader base of gamers, gamers on the platform are more devoted as well. iPhone users who played games averaged 743.1 minutes per month—more than 12 hours of gaming time, spread out over an average of 151.5 monthly gaming sessions. Android gamers spent an average of 484 minutes per month playing, and averaged 94.6 monthly sessions. In other words, the iPhone converts a larger slice of its users into gamers, and then convinces them to play more and more often.
As more mobile users convert to smartphones, mobile gaming is likely to continue to increase among American consumers. eMarketer estimates that this year there will be 121.3 million mobile gamers in the US, accounting for 49% of all mobile users. By 2016, eMarketer projects that number will increase to 174 million, or 67% of mobile users.
The Arbitron study also highlighted the importance of gaming to smartphone users overall. It found that smartphone users across all major platforms averaged 594.1 minutes per month gaming—significantly more time than they spent with any other phone function, be it texting, social networking or making phone calls.
Gaming maintained a large advantage in terms of time spent, despite the fact that it was a less widely used feature than some others: 99.3% of smartphone users used their phone for web browsing, for instance, while 78.8% played games. But the fact that gaming occupies such a large percentage of time for many users means that the iPhone’s gaming advantage could prove a formidable one.