Mobile Games: more gamers spend smaller amounts

By May 22, 2012
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Paid mobile game downloads will fall and microtransactions will rise in the next few years. The maturation of this market will create other changes in gamer spending habits.


2012 hasn’t been a great year for video games - gamers are spending less on virtual goods and other types of purchases. However, microtransactions have become more common, and a growing number of gamers make purchases – so in the end, the industry isn’t loosing money. The Casual Games Sector Report 2012 from SuperData Research shows that mobile game revenues have been climbing in the US and will continue to do so through its predictions of year 2015.

Microtransactions are becoming common

Another area in mobile games that will be changing a lot is revenue source. Paid downloads and microtransactions are where most games make money. Ad support makes up only a small amount. But in just a few years, the trends will shift. Paid downloads is the only revenue source that will drop - from 37 percent of mobile game revenue in 2012 to 17 percent in 2015. All other sources will increase - microtransactions will rise from 55 to 62 percent, and ad supported games will climb from 6 percent to fourteen percent. Despite fewer paid downloads, these shifts mean that between 3.5 and 10 percent of free-to-play users will convert to paying users.

Social games will see many more paying users

This trend from non-paying to paying users is most visible in social games. While social games experienced explosive growth in user levels, revenues are not increasing accordingly. The average US social gamer spent $37.59 in April 2012, but at the same time last year, that same category of gamer spent $45.58. But since the industry has matured, more people have begun spending within free-to-play games, which make up many of these social games. So, a higher percentage of paying customers is projected to make up this loss - paying customers rose from 1.4 percent last year to 2.5 percent this year. SuperData predicts the market to increase from $1.8 billion at the end of this year to $13 billion in 2015.

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