Has your mobile gaming habit decreased recently? If so, you’re not alone. Recent research by Flurry, Yahoo’s mobile analytics company, suggests that while the average amount of time Americans spend using mobile devices every day continues to increase, average time spent playing mobile games in the U.S. has dropped significantly in the past year.
From April-June of 2015, Americans spent an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes per day on their mobile devices, a 35% increase in time spent from one year ago and a 24% increase from Q4 2014.
Gaming may be shrinking, but entertainment, messaging and social apps are on the rise. Entertainment (including YouTube) grew from 8% of time spent last year, or 13 minutes per day, to 20% of time spent, or 44 minutes per day this year. This is 240% growth year-over-year, or an extra 31 minutes.
Americans now spend only 15% of their smartphone or tablet usage playing mobile games, a dramatic drop from the 32% found in last year’s study. Flurry believes there are three contributing factors to the decline:
- Lack of new hits: Gaming is a hit driven industry and there hasn’t been a major new hit the past 6 to nine months. The major titles like Supercell’s Clash of Clans, King’s Candy Crush, and Machine Zone’s Game of War continue to dominate the top grossing charts and haven’t made room for a major new entrant.
- Users become the game: Millennials are shifting from playing games to watching others play games, creating a new category of entertainment called eSports. This summer, Fortune named eSports, the new Saturday morning cartoons for millennials. In fact, some of the most watched content on Tumblr is Minecraft videos created and curated by the passionate Minecraft community.
- Pay instead of play: Gamers are buying their way into games versus grinding their way through them. Gamers are spending more money than time to effectively beat games or secure better standings rather than working their way to the top. This explains the decline in time spent and the major rise in in-app purchases, as Apple saw a record $1.7B in AppStore sales in July.
The growth in entertainment on mobile shows us that content is king and is beating the gaming industry in its own game.