Originally posted on Forbes – NativeX has released new data showing that within the last year, users have moved toward deeper engagement in the mobile gaming space. The average mobile gamer’s engagement time has more than doubled. The amount of mobile gaming power users, those that play more than 10 minutes per session, has also doubled. Do these huge shifts signal new opportunities for mobile monetization?
In Q1 of 2013, gamers spent on average two minutes and 37 seconds playing per session versus one minute and 27 seconds in Q3 of 2012 – a 102% increase. NativeX also discloses that the number of power users has increased by 146% from 3.7% to 9%.
“This data shows that the way users interact and build attachments with mobile games is rapidly evolving. We may be seeing the beginning of a new era of gaming where mobile users become more console-like in their playing habits- gaming for longer periods of time and potentially spending more,” says Robert Weber, co-founder and SVP of business development at NativeX. “This trend is also supported by the emergence multi-billion dollar mobile gaming companies, such as GungHo, which are giving console giants like EA a run for their money.”
One significant factor in the user engagement increase according to NativeX is the continued growth of smartphones’ market share globally. According to DisplaySearch, smartphones out-sold feature phones for the first time in Q1 this year and comScore reported that Android controls 52% of the market share globally.
Another factor could be game enhanced game quality as a games shift toward cross-platform models that allow for play on smartphone, tablet, and even PC/Mac. Higher quality mobile game experiences that defy the old stereotype of casual phone games are becoming more commonplace, with smarter free-to-play models and games as a service becoming the norm as titles gain longevity and credibility.
“This trend in engagement could redefine the ways developers monetize their users. When developers had just over a minute to both engage users in the game and begin monetizing them through ads, cross-promotion, or virtual goods, the process could feel rushed,” says Weber. “Now that the window has more than doubled, we could begin seeing an entirely new monetization process where casual games mimic more hardcore games that have longer play periods and more pervasive monetization tactics.”