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Mobile and Casual Gaming - US - December 2010

Recent years have seen a shift in video game users—the Wii hearkened a new vision of what a “gamer” looks like—often older than previously envisioned, and female to boot. This new gamer seeks games that are easier to learn, less time-consuming, and that allow them to interact with friends and strangers online. Dedicated devices are rarely part of the equation. This begs the question for the industry—what is the best way to reach consumers in a changing gaming landscape? In this report, Mintel looks at the growing casual and mobile gaming industry, and answers the following questions:

  • How has economic downturn impacted traditional video games and what does this mean for casual and mobile gaming?
  • How is casual gaming monetized?
  • How do casual gamers feel about in-game advertising?
  • Which are the best targets to reach through different types of portable, mobile and casual in-game ads?
  • What is social gaming, and what does it mean for the industry looking forward?
  • What are casual gamers willing to pay for, and what do they expect for free?
  • Where is there cross-over between hardcore gamers and casual gaming avenues?
  • How can online or mobile games be used as part of an overall branding strategy?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Abbreviations
              • Terms
              • Executive Summary

                • The monetization of casual gaming
                  • Competition from other gaming
                    • Market drivers
                      • Leading companies
                        • Mobile and portable gaming
                          • Innovators change role, platform, and find new ways to monetize
                            • Usage
                              • Phone vs. portable console gaming
                                • Free games
                                  • Paying for games
                                    • Opinions about portable gaming consoles
                                      • Ad-itudes
                                        • Impact of race/Hispanic origin
                                          • Kids and teens
                                          • Insights and Opportunities

                                            • Parents as gaming audience
                                              • Product seep in phones creates opportunity
                                                • In-game branding for women
                                                  • Reaching 25-34 year old mobile gamers
                                                    • Portable exercise games
                                                      • “Brain Saver” gamer
                                                        • Reaching online English-speaking Hispanics through casual gaming
                                                        • Inspire Insight

                                                            • Trend—“Attention Economy”
                                                            • Competitive Context

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Recession negatively impacts consoles and shrink-wrapped software
                                                                  • PC and home console gaming still accounts for more hours
                                                                    • Figure 1: Penetration of online, casual, console and mobile gaming, by age, June 2010
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Rapid growth in smartphone sales drives mobile gaming
                                                                      • Penetration and confusion about definitions
                                                                        • Figure 2: Type of phone owned and availability of advanced capabilities, by age, March 2010
                                                                      • One in four play games on cell phones
                                                                        • Figure 3: Mobile phone gaming in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                      • PCs increasingly portable
                                                                        • Figure 4: Any gaming on a tablet, by age, June 2010
                                                                      • Explosion of app market
                                                                        • Facebook is many internet users’ “home base”
                                                                          • Facebook eliminates application notifications
                                                                          • Market segmentation

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Virtual goods—a business model
                                                                                • In-game advertising
                                                                                  • Figure 5: U.S. in-game advertising market, 2005-10
                                                                                • Game downloads
                                                                                  • Spend on mobile gaming and game downloads
                                                                                    • Figure 6: Spend on gaming for mobile devices in the last three months, June-July 2010
                                                                                  • Incidence of PC game downloads
                                                                                    • Figure 7: PC gaming with downloaded games in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                  • Source of cell phone games downloaded
                                                                                    • Figure 8: Source of paid downloads of games for cell phones in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                • Leading Companies—Casual Gaming

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Zynga leads social gaming
                                                                                      • Figure 9: Monthly active users on Facebook games, December 2009 and 2010
                                                                                    • Gaming sites fragmented, and growing
                                                                                      • Figure 10: Monthly active users on leading casual gaming sites, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                    • Company profiles
                                                                                      • Electronic Arts (Pogo.com, Playfish)
                                                                                        • Yahoo! Games
                                                                                          • Nickelodeon Games (AddictingGames)
                                                                                            • Big Fish Games
                                                                                              • MSN Games
                                                                                                • AOL Games (Games.com)
                                                                                                  • Newgrounds
                                                                                                    • Disney/Playdom
                                                                                                    • Leading Companies—Portable Gaming Consoles

                                                                                                      • Introduction
                                                                                                        • Nintendo DS most played handheld
                                                                                                          • Figure 11: Mobile game systems owned or played, by age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                        • Portable gaming more prevalent among internet users
                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Mobile gaming on a portable console in the last three months, by type of console, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                        • Company profiles
                                                                                                          • Nintendo
                                                                                                            • Sony
                                                                                                            • Leading Companies—Phone Gaming

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Apple portables lead mobile gaming
                                                                                                                      • Figure 13: Mobile gaming on a phone in the last three months, by type of phone, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                    • Higher income corresponds to higher incidence of phone gaming
                                                                                                                      • Figure 14: Mobile gaming on a phone in the last three months, by type of phone, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                  • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                    • Location-based casual and social gaming
                                                                                                                      • 3D gaming
                                                                                                                        • Interactive TV offers new venue for casual gaming
                                                                                                                          • Casual gaming as a how-to manual
                                                                                                                            • Microsoft’s Xbox Live Phone
                                                                                                                              • Social gaming debit cards
                                                                                                                                • Branding for cable networks and shows
                                                                                                                                  • FarmVille’s $42 Valentine
                                                                                                                                    • Therapeutic uses for gaming
                                                                                                                                    • Playing Games on a PC

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Under-25s play the most games on a PC
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 15: Playing or owning video games, by age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Online gaming more popular than offline among internet users
                                                                                                                                          • .Figure 16: Sites or computer used for online and PC gaming in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                        • More children equals more PC gaming
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Sites or computer used for online and PC gaming in the last three months, by presence of children in household, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Portable Consoles vs. Phones, Gaming Decisions

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Phone gaming primary mobile platform
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Mobile gaming in the last three months, by phone or console, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Mobile phones as default gaming devices
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Attitudes toward playing games on phone, by gender, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                          • High-income gamers choose phone gaming over dedicated device
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Attitudes toward playing games on phone, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                          • High-income groups opt for games consoles on the move
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 21: Attitudes toward gaming consoles, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Interest in and Attitudes toward Free Games

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Nearly one in three women play free games daily
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Attitudes toward free games, by gender, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Younger respondents are restless, fickle gamers
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 23: Attitudes toward free games, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Downloading Games for Phones, PCs, Tablets and Mobile Consoles

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Majority of portable gamers pay to download games
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Paid-for casual online, mobile and PC gaming in the last three months, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Half of phone gamers buy from app store
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Source of free and paid downloads of games for cell phones in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Four games bought per phone gamer in last three months
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Mean number of free and paid downloads of games for cell phones in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: No games downloaded to cell phones in the last three months, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Portable Console Preferences

                                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Preferences in portable gaming consoles, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Viewing of and Attitudes toward Ads on Free Games

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Gamers would rather watch ads than pay
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Attitudes toward ads on free games, by gender, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Advertising less noticed by young gamers
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Attitudes toward ads on free games, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Advergaming Play

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Advergames reach more than one in five under-35 gamers
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Incidence of playing advertainment games, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Advergaming increases with household income
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Advertainment games ever played, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                • Experience of and Attitudes toward In-Game Ads and Product Placement

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • 25-34s most likely to have seen in-game ads in past week
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Reach of in-game product placement and ads, by age, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Product placement has more reach, impact on men
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Awareness and acceptance of product placement in video games, by gender, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Under-25s receptive to in-game branding
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Awareness and acceptance of product placement in video games, by age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Non-whites do more mobile gaming
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Mobile gaming in the last three months, by race/Hispanic origin, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Apple products appeal to Asians, Hispanics
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Mobile gaming on a phone in the last three months, by type of phone, by race/Hispanic origin, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Hispanics and Asians most likely to be mobile console gamers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Mobile gaming on a console in the last three months, by race/Hispanic origin, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Hispanics also most likely to be casual gamers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Sites or computer used for casual online and PC gaming in the last three months, by race/Hispanic origin, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Hispanics receptive to in-game advertising
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Awareness and acceptance of product placement in video games, by race/Hispanic origin, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                    • Teens and Kids

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Nintendo DS popular with teen girls
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 41: Game systems owned or played among teens, by gender and age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Majority of 6-8 year olds play Nintendo DS
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Game systems owned or played among kids, by gender and age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Games played on a personal computer among teens, by gender and age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Kids play most computer games
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Games played on a personal computer among kids, by gender and age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • Three fourths of teens own cell phones, most with gaming
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Cell phone ownership and presence of games on phone among teens, by gender and age, July 2009-March 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                          • Multiples
                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                  • Closers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                          • Stationaries
                                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Internet and casual gaming clusters, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Mobile gaming on a phone or portable console in the last three months, by type of phone/ portable console, by internet and casual gaming clusters, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Sites or computer used for casual online and PC gaming in the last three months, by internet and casual gaming clusters, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Advertainment games ever played, and people played with online; by internet and casual gaming clusters, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Attitudes toward ads on free games, by internet and casual gaming clusters, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Internet and casual gaming clusters, by gender, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Internet and casual gaming clusters, by age group, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Internet and casual gaming clusters, by household income group, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Internet and casual gaming clusters, by race, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Internet and casual gaming clusters, by Hispanic origin, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gaming console owners more likely to buy new mobile devices
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: plans to purchase mobile phones and portable gaming devices, by console owned, June 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Smartphone penetration higher among console owners
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Use of mobile phone to go onto internet, by console owned, June 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Mobile gaming in the last three months, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Attitudes toward ads on free games, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Attitudes toward free games, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Preferences in portable gaming consoles, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Mobile gaming on a console in the last three months, by household income, June-July 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                    • AOL
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                    • AT&T Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer Electronics Association
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Digital Media Association (DiMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Electronic Arts, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Entertainment Merchants Association
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Entertainment Software Association
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Foursquare
                                                                                                                                                                                    • GameStop Corp
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hewlett-Packard Company
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Interactive Advertising Bureau (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Microsoft Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                                                                                                    • MTV Networks
                                                                                                                                                                                    • MySpace.com
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nickelodeon Networks
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Nintendo of America Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Panasonic Corporation of North America
                                                                                                                                                                                    • PayPal Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Popcap Games Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                    • PricewaterhouseCoopers
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sony Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                    • TiVo Inc
                                                                                                                                                                                    • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Video Software Dealers Association
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Walt Disney Company, The

                                                                                                                                                                                    Mobile and Casual Gaming - US - December 2010

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