In the last few years, gaming has moved rapidly in the direction of shorter, simpler games played via social networks and mobile devices. Mobile gaming has more users and is growing more rapidly than any other gaming platform in the US, according to new data from eMarketer. And social gaming is growing more rapidly than social networking use.
Mobile gamers (mobile phone users who play games on mobile phones at least once per month) will reach 141 million in 2014, driven largely by the rapid increase in smartphone ownership. In 2010, smartphone gamers represented just under half (45.8%) of all mobile gamers; by the end of 2012, they will represent three-quarters of all mobile gamers.
Nearly half (49%) of mobile owners will use mobile games by 2013. By 2016, eMarketer estimates that over half (53%) of the general population will be mobile gamers.
The growth of social gaming is slowing, down to 10% growth in 2012 (a significant drop from growth rates of 27% in 2010 and 31% in 2011), but is still stronger than the rate of increase for social network users. In 2013 and 2014, the rate of growth will even out between social gamers (social network users who play games on a social network at least once per month) and social network users. Fully half of social network users will play social games by 2014, according to eMarketer estimates.