New data from Juniper Research has revealed that by 2017 there will be 64.1 billion games downloaded onto smartphones and tablet devices – over 3 times that of 2012, which stood at 21 billion. This high rate of growth is being driven by the increasing number of free-to-play releases, more sophisticated devices, and the global uptake of smartphones.

Mobile – The Primary Screen For Gamers

The new Juniper report, Mobile & Tablet Games: Discovery, In-App Purchases & Advertising, investigated why this growth in the number of games downloaded would be so staggering. It found that an increase in the number of sophisticated games, which allow for truly multi-platform gameplay through the use of cloud technology, meant that mobile would become the primary screen for gamers. Greater memory on devices would also mean consumers were able to download more games onto their phones and tablets.

Accelerated by the Mid-Core Gamer

Another key point highlighted by the report is that tablet users are downloading over twice the amount of games onto their devices than smartphone users. Siân Rowlands, Report author added “tablet games are growing so much because they are such an accessible way for all consumer segments to access games. In particular mid-core gamers, who previously spent a lot of money and time playing games but now have jobs, families or other commitments, are driving this trend. These people are really embracing the tablet form factor, and innovative gameplay devices such as the mobile based OUYA console, really appeal to them”.

In addition, the report analysed the impact made by smartphone and tablet games on the dedicated portable gaming device market. Juniper Research believes that mobile and tablet games will not mark the end of this market, but with players such as Nintendo cutting its sales forecasts by 14% for its 3DS, and 27% for its Wii U, it is hard to deny the challenge by the smartphone and tablet sector.

Other Key Findings Include:

  • Social & Casual Games will remain the most popular genre downloaded, with over half of all smartphone games downloaded fitting this genre.
  • In 2017, only 7% of games will be paid for at the point of purchase across smartphones and tablets.

The ‘Mobile & Tablet Games ~ Playing & Paying’ whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.