About 1 percent of mobile gamers — dubbed whales — account for 29 percent of all spending in mobile games. This one of the facts that came out of Everyplay‘s survey of mobile gamers, who are fast becoming one of the most-studied groups in history.

Companies like Everyplay, the mobile-sharing division of game engine maker Unity Technologies, study mobile gamers because they’re so lucrative. Mobile gaming is expected to double from $17.5 billion to $35.4 billion by 2017, according to a report by game marketer AppLift and market researcher Newzoo. Developers, publishers, advertisers, and marketers want to understand the behavior of these players so they can figure out what they like to play and how to make more money from them.

Everyplay is announcing today its own findings in a study of 3,000 U.S. mobile gamers on Android and iOS devices. Everyplay lets gamers capture videos of their gameplay and share them with friends. So naturally, it was quite excited to learn that bigger spenders are more likely to find new games through word-of-mouth and video. It also found that these players are more likely to engage in social sharing, such as telling friends to games and inviting them to play or rating games.


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The report says that mobile gamers play more than two games per month, and they spend an average of $4 each per month. One group, dubbed “super whales,” spends more than $20 a month — sometimes up to $50 or more. They are motivated by competitive play and genres that enable it.

“Mobile video sharing of gameplay represents a huge opportunity for game developers to increase the discovery of their games virally, and also tap into the heavier spenders and whales who naturally engage in more social behaviors than nonspenders. We believe video replay sharing will continue to grow in adoption over time as well. Results and data within our report will help game developers to prioritize and design features for virality and retention with existing social media channels as well,” said Jussi Laakkonen, the executive vice president at Everyplay, which game-engine developer Unity (and is the target of sales rumors) bought earlier this year.

About 10 percent of players who spend over $10 a month make up about two-thirds of the revenue from mobile games. And those who play 10 hours per week pay more than three times the average spender. And mobile gamers on iOS tend to spend more than their Android counterparts.

Players ages 35 to 44 spend the most on mobile games, at $6.07 on average, compared to $3.73 spent on average by 18 to 24 year olds. Men spend an average of $5.63 on mobile games, compared to $3.49 for women.

Everyplay infographic

Above: Everyplay infographic

Image Credit: Everyplay