GamesBeat

Smartphones are making console-only gamers rarer despite PS4 and Xbox One

Above: Candy Crush Saga dominates Facebook as well as mobile, but it's having problems in South Korea.

Image Credit: King

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have both reached millions in system sales, but they aren’t preventing people from also adopting other devices for gaming.

People who play on multiple platforms is the only segment of gamers that is growing, according to a report from industry research firm The NPD Group. That chunk of the market, which NPD calls “omni gamers,” grew from 16 percent to 22 percent of the total gaming population in the U.S. from 2013 to 2014. The biggest group, mobile-only gamers, maintained its 29 percent hold on the market. Casual, “core-console,” “family,” “PC-only,” and social gamers all lost up to 2 percentage points. This suggests that even as dedicated gamers drop $400 on new PlayStation 4s, they are also spending time gaming on their iPhone or Android devices.

In fact, smartphone was the only type of gaming device to experience growth from 2013 to 2014. More than 7 out of 10 gamers reported that they play games on their phones. That is up 4 percent from last year. Consoles and PC did not experience overall growth, even if individual platforms like PlayStation 4 and Steam did.

While gamers are using their smartphones more, spending per player is up for both digital and physical. The average gamers spent $48 on physical games in the last three months, that’s up from $45 over the same period last year. For digital, it is up to an average of $16 from $11 in 2013. Gamers in almost all segments are also spending more time with their purchases.

“Across both digital and physical formats, spending has increased from last year for consoles, portables, and digital gaming apps, which is great news when also combined with the fact that gamers are spending more time playing games,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said. “Being able to understand the segments that are driving the changes in behavior towards purchasing and time spent gaming is fundamentally important to navigate this complex time in the gaming industry.”

With spending still strong and engagement still high, consoles and PC are still in a strong position with gamers, but it’s clear that smartphones are only capturing more time, more money, and more players with each passing year. And the competition for consumer cash may boost creativity in game development as well as software distribution.

More information:

Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through... read more »

Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony. The company was... read more »

The NPD Group provides market information and advisory services to help our clients make better business decisions -- including developing and offering the right products in the right places at the right prices for the right people in ... read more »

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1 comments
Caio Vianna
Caio Vianna

That's not surprising. A real gamer (not literally real, I'm just talking about someone who is REALLY into gaming) is likely to play games on all possible ocasions. Play games on dedicated consoles (counting PC and portables) as a hobby, on free time, bring your phone to do gaming too when you're, I don't know, waiting for **** on the bank or something.

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