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Everyone assumes that people play mobile games while they’re on the run, but the reality is that mobile game users are seven times more likely to be playing a game in the restroom of their own home than they are to be playing in an airport.
Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile at Electronic Arts, spoke at the Dice Summit, the elite game industry conference in Las Vegas, where he talked about the major myths about mobile games. Here are the myths described by Boatman, an 11-year veteran of mobile games:
1. Myth: People play mobile games on the run. The truth is that 47 percent of the time, users play mobile games while at home. At home, they can more easily download games over their own wireless networks. About 12 percent of the time, users play games during a commute. About 1 percent of the time, users play games in an airport. Users play mobile games in the restroom about 7 percent of the time, play at work 14 percent of the time, play at school 3 percent of the time, and play in other places for the remaining 4 percent.
2. Myth: The top mobile games are all casual. Casual games are snacks, where you play for a short time while waiting in line. But Boatman said that at different points in history, casual games have dominated the top games on mobile platforms. But hardcore games are an under-served market on the iPad, iPhone and other smartphones today. Hardcore games such as Epic’s Infinity Blade and EA’s DeadSpace have shot to No. 1 on the iPhone and iPad, showing that users appreciate hardcore titles as well.
3. Myth: One size game fits all platforms. But mobile game platforms are multiplying and splintering. Quite often when phone makers change screen resolutions or screen sizes, they force changes in game development. Developers have to adapt by making many versions of their games to run on all the relevant platforms. Android in particular is causing a big splintering.
4. Myth: Brands don’t matter. EA, of course, believes that brands rule, since it has launched titles such as Need for Speed — a racing game brand familiar to hardcore gamers — to great success on the iPhone. Over time, Boatman pointed out, the number of brands in the top ranks of the mobile game charts are based on brands. Right now, eight of the top 25 iPhone games are brands.
5. Myth: This is as good as it gets. Boatman says the mobile game industry will be far different in three years and will make huge progress.