Tablets Rule as Preferred Mobile Gaming Device: Tablet In-Game Virtual Goods Spending Nearly 3x More Than on Smartphones

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New study from Magid and PlayFirst shows 69 percent of tablet owners regularly play games on their tablets; 31 percent buy in-game virtual goods

SAN FRANCISCO – July 9, 2013 – PlayFirst Inc., a global leader in mobile games for families and friends, and Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., a leading media and entertainment research firm, today announced results from the annual Tablet and Smartphone Gaming, Magid Media Futures™ study. According to the study, the tablet has emerged as the mobile platform of choice for gamers: 61 million total gamers prefer the platform, and that number has increased nearly 70 percent year-over-year.  Sixty-nine percent of all tablet owners regularly play games, and of those tablet gamers, 31 percent are buying in-game virtual goods, spending an average of $48 each in the last 12 months.  This means in-game virtual good spending for tablet games is about $914 million, nearly three-times the share of smartphone in-game virtual good spending, which stands at $341 million.

Despite lower spending, the study shows that consumers continue to embrace the smartphone for gaming with a total of 54 million users playing games on their smartphones, nearly a 50 percent year-over-year increase. Nineteen percent of smartphone gamers are paying for in-game virtual goods and are spending $32 each on average.

“Despite its strong growth in the last three years, mobile gaming is still at the beginning stages of its global expansion on smartphones and tablets,” said Marco DeMiroz, president and CEO of PlayFirst. “Because it’s so easy and convenient, mobile gaming has become a mainstream consumer entertainment pastime, right alongside watching television and movies. In fact, it is replacing traditional home entertainment as tablets offer a rich and compelling user experience.”

“We started seeing the emergence of the tablet as a huge gaming platform last year,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors. “Now tablet gaming growth is pushing big increases on in-game virtual goods spending and driving big revenue. The tablet is really the TV of video – the great majority of tablet owners love tablet gaming, and the tablet is becoming their go-to device for gaming.”

The Magid Media Futures report also shows that gameplay has emerged as the number one entertainment activity on tablets. The average tablet gamer downloaded nearly 25 games in the last 12 months, and one out of five of those are paid games. In comparison, the average smartphone gamer downloaded nearly 20 games in the last 12 months.

According to the study Android continues to make headway but iOS still leads in total number of gamers. iOS gamers are slightly more likely to play games, purchase games and buy in-game virtual goods compared to Android users, and iPhone users are more likely to pay for smartphone games by a wide margin.

More About the Study

The research was conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, Magid Media Futures practice, and sponsored by PlayFirst. The annual consumer study examines cross-platform media behavior to help clients analyze, determine, and implement product and marketing strategies. The online study was fielded April 24 – May 8, 2013 and included a nationally representative sample of 2,400 people ages 8-64.

About Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc.

Frank N. Magid Associates has been a leading research-based strategic consulting firm in the media, entertainment and communications industries for over 50 years. Magid has interviewed over 1 million consumers by phone, online, and in-person in 2010 and conducted thousands of B2B executive and professional interviews.

At the core of Magid’s work is an intense study of consumer behaviors and attitudes towards all aspects of communication and entertainment. The Magid staff has deep operational experience in all media platforms. These insights and experience form the nucleus of our operational and strategic consulting services.  Magid has been instrumental in the success of hundreds of TV stations, networks, cable operators, game companies, wireless entities, newspapers, web sites and other media assets.

About PlayFirst

At PlayFirst, we believe you can have fun anywhere, any time and at any age. That’s why we’re committed to creating mobile games for everyone to enjoy, including the fan-favorite DASH® series of games like Diner Dash® and SpongeBob Diner Dash® and character-driven games like Deep Sea Deli. Whether you’re in line at the store, on your lunch break or lounging at home, you only need a minute to dive into a PlayFirst game—but you’ll find a lifetime of entertainment. PlayFirst games are played by tens of millions of fans worldwide, and we’re just getting started. To find out more about our talented team and our awesome games, please visit
Official website Facebook @PlayFirst

Media Contacts

TriplePoint for PlayFirst

Kristina Cheng