Mobile games are big business, with phone and tablet gaming revenue set to exceed $4.6 billion in North America alone this year, according to a new report from the gaming research firm Eedar. And the audience is broadening.
The average age of a smartphone or tablet gamer is 27.7, which is seven years younger than it was a year ago, the report found. The conclusions were drawn from an August 2014 survey of 3,500 mobile and tablet gamers.
Nearly half of all mobile gamers don’t pay for anything, Eedar said, and only three percent of the player total (six percent of the payer total) is responsible for more than half of the revenue generated. The report highlighted the role of “core” gamers — the minority of people who play games like FIFA, Infinity Blade and Deer Hunter — as both heavy spenders and the source of much word-of-mouth marketing.
“A game’s social features should be designed with this group of players in mind, providing ways to share that are enticing to this core group of players,” the report said.
However, like we said eight months ago, Eedar cautioned that this doesn’t mean that the traditional home for core gamers, gaming consoles, are in immediate danger.
Core gamers are playing mobile games “as an extension of a brand or experience they are using on another platform,” Eedar explained.
Women outnumber men as players in mobile, with a 56 percent majority, but Eedar found that men are more likely to be “heavy spenders,” defined as spending at least $10 a month. Thanks to the contributions of extremely high spenders, a.k.a. “whales,” these heavy users spend nearly $300 a year.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.