updated 11:40 am EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
Nielsen study shows iOS tops in phone gaming
A fresh Nielsen study has back views that gaming was not only leading in smartphone apps but was increasingly an iOS-specific trend. About 64 percent of mobile app downloaders had picked up games, and 93 percent of those willing to pay for an app would do so for a game. Weather and social networking were the next most popular among all apps, but few explicitly wanted to pay for them.
iPhone owners, though, were much more likely to use their devices for the purpose. An average user in the past 30 days spent 14.7 hours per month playing games, or nearly twice as much as the 7. hours on average. Android owners were above average in their gaming interest, but at 9.3 hours were still well short. Despite its Xbox Live integration, Windows Phone 7 wasn't heavily used for gaming and saw just 4.7 hours of use, although that may go up with Angry Birds and other frequently iPhone-first games being ported over.
Android, iOS, and WP7 did share a common tendency towards direct, on-device game downloading, with at least two thirds going that route to get a title. The historically poor support for gaming with both the BlackBerry and basic feature phones became evident, since more than half of both were only using games that had shipped on the phone from the factory and just 24 percent getting content from an app store.
Apple has often been the most aggressive in catering to smartphone gamers. Along with fast graphics, it has been credited with an easier development environment and making app discoverability an important factor. Android is gaining ground through its market share and through increasingly powerful phones, but graphics have been less important. The platform is also plagued by inconsistent hardware designs and frequent piracy that has kept some higher-profile game developers away.