Growing Number of Smartphone Users Is Driving Mobile Gaming Consumption
Online console gamers are growing as well, but at a slower pace
The mobile gaming audience in the US continues to grow steadily, even though gaming is already a common activity. More than two-thirds of mobile phone users and nearly 56% of the US population will play games on their phone at least monthly in 2016, eMarketer estimates.
The sustained popularity of gaming apps and new smartphone users will primarily drive this growth. By 2020, 77.0% of mobile phone users, and nearly 64% of the US population will play games on their phone at least once per month.
Mobile gaming is not just happening on smartphone devices, but on tablets as well. According to eMarketer estimates, more than 120 million people, or 72.5% of tablet users, will play games on a tablet at least once per month in 2016. By 2020, half of the US digital audience will play tablet games.
The number of tablet gamers will rise 6.6% this year and audience growth will remain steady over the forecast period. This year, there will be 120.9 million tablet gamers, and by 2020, that number will increase to 140.3 million tablet gamers.
eMarketer has increased its projection for the number of US tablet gamers slightly based on the updated forecast for overall tablet users.
Online console gamers, on the other hand, are much smaller in number, representing 19.4% of internet users this year. Penetration will only rise by a little over 1 percentage point by 2020. The lack of new console releases, combined with audience maturity and the popularity of mobile gaming, will lead to slower user gains.