Think about what you use your phone for the most. Maybe it’s emailing, maybe it’s listening to music, perhaps it’s gaming. One thing’s for sure, if you add up the total amount of time you spend on your phone, only a tiny slice of it is likely to be talking, you know, what phones were originally designed for.
Now that the majority of us are walking around with a super computer in our pocket’s, gaming and gambling companies are vying with each other to offer us the best. That can only be a good thing as the quality of the games has to shoot up in order to stay ahead of the competition.
When it comes to the devices people are playing on, a whopping 90% of all purchases made on mobile phones come from iPhone and Android.
Is mobile gaming really that popular?
Yes, is the simple answer. Research from analytics company ComScore found that gaming, including gambling, ranked just under Social Media in terms of popularity on mobile phones. Over 3 months in 2013 Social Media was accessed 22 million times via smart phones in the UK. During that same period people played games on their phones 20 million times.
Inside insight on gambling
The Australian gambling market is already known to be absolutely huge but mobile gambling has taken off in a way even the most optimistic of marketers hadn’t expected.
5 million people now play poker, casino, bingo, sports betting and other gambling games on their mobile and of those 5 million, 2.2 million of them play solely on mobile.
One of the big poker operators, iPoker, revealed that this year over 40% of all is revenues came from mobile users.
Drilling down deeper into demographics
Not only are 90% of all purchases on iPhone and Android made on games, in-game purchases have more than doubled, up 51% compared with this time 18 months ago – now those are statistics that show increasing market share.
2.2 million gamers made in-game purchases and 48% of those in-game purchases were for cash, points or tokens. Seeing as gambling apps are pretty much the only gaming apps where you pay real money to get real money to play with, it’s clear that gambling apps account for a sizeable chunk of these purchases.
Interestingly while men account for 62% of all in-game purchases, there are more females than males who play on their mobiles daily. The figures are 52% for women Vs 48% for men.
The future is free
When the internet really came into its own 10 years or so ago, it bought with i an almost unending array of free stuff. Movies, TV shows, music – we got it all for free and then started complaining when the entertainment industry decided we’d have to pay for it.
A similar thing has happened with mobile gaming. In the last year 8 million people have downloaded free games, which is a rise of 24% compared with an 11% fall in paid game purchases.
For developers and publishers that means they’ve got to rely on in-game purchases to make any money.
Having said that, mobile gambling apps could go the way of video services like Hulu i.e. support themselves with advertising to keep the product free for players.
Recent analysis has shown that mobile gaming is currently not utilizing advertising to the optimum level. 40% of smart phone users answered a survey saying they remember seeing in-game adverts and 7% of them said they had tapped on them.
Although that sounds like a small amount, it’s a way higher percentage than the click-throughs that adverts get in browsers and inside other apps.
If gambling companies could put the screen space in their apps to good use, that could mean not only free, higher quality games but it could also give birth to a wave of even more generous promotions. With all that money coming in from advertising, they could offer players 300% bonuses instead of 50% or 100%.
Over in the US it’s the government that runs the national and state lotteries. Part of reason they’re so scared about legalising gambling there is because it means they would miss out on all the money they are currently making.
With so much cash to make in weekly and even daily lotteries, apparently various state governments are looking at developing apps for the lotteries. From their point of view it makes perfect sense; make the game more accessible, more people will play, prizes will get bigger and more enticing and that equals more profits for them.
Next year we could well see a few states sticking their necks out and diving into the mobile lottery world. If successful, it will most probably lead to a roll out across the country.