Although we may often be fed the stereotype of the casual mobile gamer as the 'wine mums' and the bored office workers on the commute, as it turns out that may just be what it is, a stereotype. The truth is far more complex as Louise Shorthouse laid out in a talk at PGC Helsinki.
“Fewer than 2-in-10 mobile gamers are playing on smartphones exclusively,” she said. “The average gamer still uses more than three devices,” with variation all across the world. She points to the idea of games that are not exclusively mobile but also cross-platform as a key influence on this, with an average of 3.2 devices per player.
Variation in certain places also depends on the market. For example in Japan, where handheld devices such as the Switch are popular, mobile gaming is less exclusively popular due to the overlap in capabilities on these devices. Of course, Japan is also the home of gacha, so these variations don’t necessarily point to lessons that can’t be learned about mobile gaming.
Shorthouse pointed out that the “attention economy” is now one of the major factors in appealing to players. With streaming and traditional media outlets still at the top of the list for how Western audiences spend their time interacting with media, being able to compete for attention is key. “So competition is really intensifying in the game space, but also in the broader media space.” Essentially, being able to capitalise on a player’s attention across multiple platforms may be key to developing a loyal audience.
Developers can use this to their advantage however, as she points out that “a key factor in multiplatform gaming is this idea of fluid monetization.” Basically, paying for use across multiple platforms even if used in a limited capacity on other devices. Impulse buying drives monetization, whilst all-platform gamers still tend to put the majority of their money into full-purchase games. Therefore one of the key takeaways will be how to tap into this lucrative market by making monetization more valuable and appealing to those used to more substantial payments.
It’s not too late to check out more of the discussions in Helsinki this week! Both the rest of today, and tomorrow, are still accessible with the right ticket. Check out PGC Helsinki here.