Mobile games, conventional wisdom holds, are for playing on the go. The point of a mobile device is that it’s unplugged, wireless, and travels everywhere with us. For many who have transitioned to a smartphone, to leave the house without it feels almost like leaving the house naked. So surely we play mobile games everywhere we are?
Well, no. Not exactly.
Social game site MocoSpace ran a survey in February that reached over 15,000 players. This most recent look at the behaviour of casual game players reinforced what previous surveys and studies have found: the biggest use of mobile platforms for gaming is at home. A full 96 per cent of respondents confirmed that they play games at home, though 64 per cent admitted to playing at work and another 46 per cent apparently play during class. 25 per cent somehow manage to play while at the gym, a feat I don’t think I could manage.
This particular survey also asked participants where in the home they game. Over half, 53 per cent, answered that they play in bed. (As someone who herself has a long history of squeezing in a few minutes first with the DS and more recently with the Droid before turning off the lights, I can believe it.) Only 5 per cent admitted to playing in the bathroom, which seems to have more to do with the structure of the question than with honest self-reporting; participants could only select one location for their answer.
In what must be happy news for the developers of mobile games, players develop an attachment and keep coming back. Over half of players report that they play for at least an hour a day, and roughly a third say they play for more than three hours daily.
In a statement, MocoSpace CEO Justin Siegel crowed, “This report should make every console gaming company nervous. Mobile gaming is not a companion to consoles, but rather it’s attacking them on their home turf: the couch, the La-Z-Boy and even the bedroom.” It seems a bit early to declare the triumph of the iPhone, however; I don’t know many players who have ever brought their Xbox to the toilet or to the bedroom.