Chart of the Week

20% of the 106 million US mobile gamers account for 62% of time spent playing

20% of the 106 million US mobile gamers account for 62% of time spent playing

There are an increasing number of companies proporting to offer market intelligence data about the mobile games market.

But as with political polling, there's a large variation in how such data is generated, which leads to even more uncertainly about the accuracy of the results.

When it comes to US company Verto Analytics, however, monitoring consumer behaviour is its core business.

And with clients ranging from Cisco and Yahoo to Microsoft and EA, we'd be surprised if its work couldn't be filed under 'likely accurate'.

Which makes its latest Mobile Games report worth drilling down into.

Based on data from US consumers who have installed a measurement app on their device, it's been looking a some broad behavioural metrics.

Know yourself

First up is the scale of the US mobile games market.

43% of the US population plays mobile games.

In terms of the adults (18 or older), Verto reckons 43% of the US population plays mobile games.

That's 106 million people.

Interestingly, that's less than the number of people who use social networking apps (179 million) or lifestyle and shopping (147 million)

Yet, when ranked by monthly time spend, games' total of 1.2 billion hours per months is second behind social networking's almost 5 billion hours.

Of course, one interesting corollary of this is how it maps to the self-identification of 'gamers'.

38% of the US population plays games but doesn't identify itself as a gamer.

Cross referencing with data from another highly regarded source, The Pew Research Center (which reckons 49% of the US population are gamers), Verto says that 10% of the US population call itself a 'gamer'.

More significantly, 38% play games but don't identify itself as 'gamers'.

Biggest games

In terms of what people are playing, that's easy.

Only Candy Crush Saga and Words With Friends have a 5% reach.

As an aside, this data was collected in May and Verto is apparently working on collecting data that will cover Pokemon GO, although because you can't legally track the sub-18 age group, the full picture of the game's impact is impossible to judge.

Harder, faster

Verto also looks at the variation in the behaviour of the people who play games.

It splits this audience into 20% quintile segments.

The two extreme groups are:

  • Light Gamers, who make up 40% of the gaming population, but only 3% of time spent playing.
  • In contrast, Core Gamers are the top 20% of the gaming population (a subset of what Verto called Heavy Gamers), accounting for 62% of time spent.

How this works out can be clearly seen in the graph below, which ranks 4 games (Words With Friends, Solitaire, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans) in terms of the average session duration and number of sessions per month.

In all 4 cases, Heavy Gamers play at least double the number of monthly sessions, although the increase in session length isn't a proportional.

And for the more complex game - Clash of Clans - Heavy Gamers were playing 3 times the number of monthly sessions - over 300.

There's plenty more data in the report - including weekly download and actively charts and retention graphs.

You can access Leveling Up Your Mobile Game: Using Audience Measurement Data to Boost User Acquisition and Engagement here.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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