iPhone Takes Lead in Smartphone Gaming

Market research and analysis form comScore has released a new analysis of mobile gaming, and finds that while only 10 percent of mobile game downloaders had smartphones in November 2007, that number jumped to 34 percent in November 2008. And Apple’s iPhone is leading the way, with iPhone users accounting for some 14 percent of mobile game downloaders during November…and some 32.4 percent of all iPhone users reporting they downloaded a game during the month.

“The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in the United States has provided a boost for mobile gaming,” said comScore senior analyst Mark Donovan, in a statement. “Over the past year, we have seen mobile gaming expand into a broadening demographic, with strongest growth among teens, who previously eschewed their mobile device in favor of handheld gaming devices, and those 35 and older.”

Overall, the iPhone and BlackBerry Curve has replaced the Motorola RAZR and now low-end flip-phones as gaming platforms, with non-smartphone gamers dropping 14 percent year-on-year. “Last year, not one smartphone appeared in the top ten devices used for mobile downloads,” said Donovan. “This year, six out of ten are smartphones, excluding devices with smartphone-like functionality, such as the Instinct and Voyager, which also make appearances.”

comScore founds that the number of mobile game downloaders has grown to 8.5 million people during November 2008, which represents about 3.8 percent of the total population of mobile subscribers. comScore also found that, during November, 27.7 percent of all mobile subscribers received or sent photo or video messages, 23.9 percent received SMS advertisements, 18.2 percent accessed news or information via a browser, and 16.7 percent used email.

The iPhone’s apparent popularity as a gaming platform ads fuel to the rumors Apple is considering opening up a premium section of its well-received App Store, where game developers could charge as much as $19.99 for a download.

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