92% of gamers are exclusively using phones

The world’s biggest gaming platform in numbers

92% of gamers are exclusively using phones

It’s no secret that mobile phones are the world’s most popular gaming platform, but a new report by DFC intelligence finds that while 3.7 billion people worldwide are gamers - a hugely impressive number that’s just under half the global population of 7.9 billion - only 300 million of those players game on console or PC, with the remaining 3.4 billion, or 92%, doing so on mobile devices.

“Currently, the biggest focus for the core game industry is naturally on targeting the 300 million hardware-driven consumers,” writes DFC Intelligence. “These are the consumers that buy dedicated systems to play games, whether it be a console system or a gaming PC. This audience is growing, but not nearly as fast as the global audience which is driven by being able to play games on mobile phones.”

The data shows a stark divide between different markets, with the so-called “core audience” of consumers heavily weighted towards North America and Europe. The USA is the largest market for console gamers, with over 100 million consumers, with Japan and the UK and Ireland accounting for over 20 million each.

Underdog or juggernaut?

Mobile’s strength as a platform lies in its accessibility and penetration. While console and PC’s offer higher-quality graphics and hardware, their more expensive price points make them a luxury in many territories. In contrast, mobile phones are relatively affordable, while an increase in internet penetration worldwide has made them the preferred platform for the majority of gamers worldwide.

While console and PC gaming enjoy a sizable, and growing, market share, this growth is far outpaced by the continued strength of mobile gaming, and this gap is likely to continue as market penetration increases.

“Getting mobile-only consumers to upgrade to a larger screen is a major opportunity. However, it will not be easy and most companies in the game space are smart to narrow their focus to core consumers. Nevertheless, there is definitely an opportunity to expand the video game hardware business,” writes DFC intelligence.

“Over the next decade, there is likely to be a significant change in the hardware used to play games as more devices look to reach a broader audience. This could be through the growth of cloud game handheld platforms that are starting to flood the market. However, it is more likely to be through a hybrid ecosystem that allows for multiple styles of gameplay.”

Last year, mobile gaming accounted for 50% of the global revenue for the entire industry.

Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.