Mobile Game Downloads Increase 11 Percent From 2008

New research from Parks Associates finds that the percentage of U.S. gamers who regularly download games or apps to their mobile devices has increased from seven percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2011. Among tablet owners, 71 percent of adults and 79 percent of teens use the device to play games at least one hour per month. Gamers already spend $29 per month on Facebook games, and $21 per month on free-to-play games – on purchases of virtual goods and in-game upgrades.

"In-app purchases greatly expand monetization of the free-to-play model, thanks to seamless payments," said Pietro Macchiarella, Research Analyst, Parks Associates. "Already, most of the top grossing games on iTunes and Android can be downloaded for free and generate the majority of their revenues via virtual purchases. While mobile players are often characterized as 'casual gamers,' they spend a comparable amount of money on free-to-play titles as their peers spend on console games."

"Games running on smartphones and tablets have a significant advantage in the free-to-play business model, compared to their counterparts on PCs," Macchiarella added.

This data comes from a new white paper called "Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games," which shows that the game industry is set to make a significant shift in revenue models as portable devices change the gaming population.

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