Tablet Gamers Spend More and Play More Than Smartphone Gamers

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TactSlider Tornado Game ControllerI admit I’m not a big gamer. Sure, I’ve got my Solitaire game and waste the occasional hour with Hearts, but beyond that, I don’t play much.

However, I found the conclusions of this study to be quite interesting, especially considering our recent story on tablet connectivity.

61 million tablet owners play games on their tablets vs. 54 million on smartphones. Tablet owners also spend significantly more on in-app purchases ($48 vs $32).

Now that’s where things got interesting for me. I’m making some assumptions here (and if I’m wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments). I’m assuming that the majority of tablet gaming happens at home (with a broadband WiFi connection) and the majority of smartphone gaming takes place on-the-go, with people playing games while waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, illicitly under the table at work, etc.

If I’m right, that implies that we’re more comfortable making purchases at home, or that we’re spending more time playing at home and therefore have more opportunities to make those purchases. Or the games are just different.

I wonder how many game developers take that into account. Are tablet games more complicated, taking more time to complete and giving users more opportunities to spend money? Are smartphone games designed to be played in short bursts? Or do we just play different games on tablets vs. phones? I know that many games are available for both platforms, so that might not be it.

Or it could just be a matter of affluence. Tablets (generally) cost more than smartphones, leading to more disposable income for buying games and making in-app purchases.

While I did find the study results interesting, ultimately it raised more questions than answers. I think we need a new study. I’m sure mobile game developers would be interested to learn more about the purchasing habits of their users.

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