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Millions of Americans are playing games on mobile devices. That’s no surprise, for sure, but it’s confirmed by formal research released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade group for the game industry. And where and how they play is a bit surprising.

A third of Americans 13 and older play video games on their smartphones, tablets, and portable gaming devices, according to the report, “Mobile Games: Expanding Gameplay Across America,” with industry analyst The NPD Group handled for the ESA. About two-thirds of mobile gamers say that playing mobile games has not taken away from the time they spend on other game devices, such as home gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One or PCs. Fifty-four percent of mobile gamers say their overall playtime has remained steady across devices, while 11 percent are spending more time on other electronics.

“The tremendous growth of mobile gameplay underscores the dynamic and evolving nature of the video game industry,” said Michael D. Gallagher, the president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents leading U.S. computer and video game publishers, in a statement. “Consumers want the ability to play anywhere. Our industry continues to anticipate and meet consumers’ expectations by finding new ways to engage users across multiple platforms.”


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About 22 percent of mobile gamers say they have never played games before — or that they stopped playing before resuming on mobile games. About 46 percent of mobile gamers say they previously played video games but were not regular gamers before playing on mobile devices. Women (43 percent) are more likely to play games every day on their principle mobile device than males (36 percent).

The study also said the most popular games are puzzle (43 percent), card (26 percent), word (20 percent), action (19 percent), and arcade (19 percent). The most popular places to play mobile games: at home (85 percent), in the car (25 percent), and waiting in line (20 percent).

When it comes to finding mobile games, respondents said they learn of them through word of mouth (50 percent), by playing with friends and family (31 percent), or via social networking (25 percent). Forty-two percent of mobile gamers bought a game for a console, PC, or handheld gaming device because they enjoyed the mobile version.

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