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Cell Phone Gaming Taking Off

According to a new consumer study conducted by research firm Information Solutions Group on behalf of casual games publisher PopCap Games, 57% of AT&T wireless subscribers play mobile games.

The advent of the iPhone and its App Store have made the download and usage of mobile games easier than ever, and the mobile gaming industry is expected to grow more than 10% per year to hit $6.3 billion in user spending by 2011, according to a report from Gartner.

52% of gamers cited "distraction from daily life issues" as the top benefit derived from mobile gaming, followed by "relaxation and stress relief" (40%) and "improved mood" (12%)--in addition, 52% of gamers said they play mobile titles during work hours, and 14% selected "during my work day, when I need a short break" as the time when they most often play games on their phone.

60% of all mobile gamers cited "while waiting for an appointment" as a time when they play mobile games, with "during the day on weekdays" selected by 34% of respondents and "when traveling on vacation" and "on the weekend" tying for third at 25% each.

The Information Solutions Group study reports that 59% of AT&T gamers play games on their phone at least once a month, and 40% said they play weekly or more often--41% said they played less than once per month. 91% of mobile gaming sessions last fewer than 30 minutes, and 62% extend fewer than 15 minutes. In all, 71% of mobile gamers play games on their phone for less than an hour per week, although 52% of those who play daily said they play for three or more hours per week.

Asked to name "games you enjoy playing on your cell phone," 20% of AT&T gamers cited Tetris, followed by Bejeweled at 18% and Solitaire at 17%. Puzzle games topped popular genres at 66%, followed by card/casino titles at 51%--board games earned 15% of the vote, with action/adventure trailing at 11%.

86% of mobile gamers also play video games on one or more other devices, with 76% of gamers playing on computers, 41% on consoles and 24% on handheld game devices.

17% of mobile gamers consider their mobile handset their primary gaming device.

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