Where Do People Play Social Games?

Mark Stephens

There are three different types of answer to this question. Some people will answer “on my iPad”; others will say “on Facebook” and yet others again will answer “on the toilet”! It’s OK – we are flexible and will accept all three as valid! Below we take a quick look at the key devices, platforms and locations of social game play at present. Remember that the industry is changing so quickly that so are the stats – so keep in mind that this represents a good snapshot for now, but it could all change next week!


Platforms and Devices?

A recent survey of 2000 American adults by Harris Interactive in the US reported that 52 percent play browser-based games, on the likes of Facebook and elsewhere. When asked why, they responded with three main reasons:

1. They are free – as opposed to console games and paid-for apps
2. No previous software installation is required to play
3. 25 percent said the ability to play games across multiple devices without starting over again each time

So what does this tell us? Social gamers are lazy cheapskates? Well we knew that already! Social gamers often play games because they are there and will not walk through fire to find games…they want them on a plate. When you have so much choice you are able to do that!

Meanwhile Wired quoted investment firm Jefferies in reporting that:

“In 2012, the installed based for iPhones (450 million) far exceeded that of consoles (240 million); but perhaps more interestingly, consoles grew by only 20 million from 2011 compared to the double growth in mobile (and that didn’t even include tablets)."

Other interesting statistics from Skillz.com indicate that:

• In the US, 69% of US mobile gamers play games on a smartphone, 21% tablet and 18% iPod touch
• 59% of total app gameplay is on a mobile device
• 84% of tablet owners play games

Key reasons for playing mobile games are quoted as:

• Portability
• Convenience
• Affordability
• Easy to learn
• Location based functionality
• More new games to choose from

Around 56% of US households have game consoles. Key reasons for playing console games include:

• Better controls
• Bigger display size
• No battery life problems
• Superior hardware
• Better graphics
• More immersive experience
• More storage space

Bedroom or Bathroom?

It depends who you ask and how honest they are. Inside Social Games reports the following responses from a Harris Interactive survey that asked people where they play games:

On the couch – 60%
On a plane – 50%
In bed – 45%
On the toilet – 34%
On a train – 34%
At work – 25%

Interestingly, despite the mobility of devices and gaming, TechCrunch reports that almost all the 15,000 US game players surveyed by Mocospace last year said they used their mobile device for playing games at home at least once a day…with half playing for over an hour.

Their stats for whereabouts they play are quite different to Inside Social Games:

Waiting for an appointment– 83%
Commuting – 72%
Out with Friends – 64%
At work – 64%
In bed – 53%
In class – 46%
In the living room – 41%
In the bathroom – 5%
At the dining table – 1%

What does this all mean?

With so many people playing mobile games at home, it perhaps points to more people choosing a lesser game experience on their smartphones, because of the sheer convenience of playing anywhere, rather than switching to a PC or a console for their gaming fun.

And with people using their smartphones and tablets extensively at home, in stationary locations, there is perhaps more scope for game developers to create mobile games that require more consideration, attention and thought while playing.