Gaming growth for children under 17 is speeding up, and mobile games in particular are on the rise in this age group, according to new research from The NPD Group. While gaming has always been for kids, the number of kids playing mobile games has more than quadrupled in the last two years as more children are using smartphones and other mobile devices (theirs or their parents).
The US population of kids ages 2 to 17 has increased 1.5% since 2009, and the number of gamers in this age group has increased to 91% in 2011, up from 82% in 2009. The fastest growth has been among children ages 2-5, which has seen an increase of 17 points since 2009. Females and teens ages 15-17 are also driving gaming growth.
The number of US kids and teens playing mobile games has increased 30% in the last two years, climbing from 8% in 2009 to 38% in 2011. In comparison, gaming on “traditional portable gaming devices” only rose from 38% to 45% in the same time period.
Estimates from eMarketer say that 15% of kids under 11 own a mobile phone, and 22% of this same group will do so in 2015. In addition, many Generation Y parents are allowing children to use their smartphones at a young age.