Apple’s iPhone dominates mobile-phone gaming downloads

Mikael Ricknas
2 February, 2009
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The iPhone is, by far, the most popular mobile-phone gaming platform in the U.S. Out of the top 10 models of phones used for downloading games, four are iPhones, which hold the top three spots as well, according to market research company comScore.

The 8GB, 3G version of the iPhone tops the list. It is followed by the original 8GB version and the 16GB 3G version. The old 16GB iPhone trails the others, but it is still number seven on the list.

A total of about 1.1 million U.S. owners of the four iPhone models have used the device for downloading games, according to comScore.

There are a number of explanations for Apple’s dominance, according to Alistair Hill, analyst at comScore.

“The App Store is incredibly easy to use. It’s marketed very well, so everybody knows about it, and also it allows game developers to develop for it in a very easy and transparent way,” said Hill.

In addition, consumers are buying the iPhone as a data-centric device, so people who are getting the iPhone are also the most likely to buy games in the first place, Hill said.

Overall, smartphones are taking over as the platform of choice for people who play games on phones, according to comScore.

In the pre-iPhone days, mobile-phone gaming was marred by operators who wanted a larger revenue cut than the game developers, the need for developers to port games for hundreds of versions of phones and strict rules for getting games listed on operator portals, according to Hill. The iPhone has started to change that.

The other phones on the U.S. list are, in order: the BlackBerry Curve 8330, BlackBerry Curve 8310 Red, RAZR V3m Silver, LG Rumor, Samsung Instinct M800 and the LG VX10000 Voyager.

In Europe Apple isn’t as dominant. The 16GB iPhone 3G still tops the list, but versions of the Nokia N95 comes in second and third place.

Gaming is one of the content areas that Nokia is pushing, and it has a much larger presence in Europe.

Owners of the iPhone 3G in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy, however, are much more likely to purchase games, compared to users of the 8GB Nokia N95. Almost 14 percent of iPhone owners bought games compared to about 6 percent of the 8GB N95 owners. Both figure are higher than the market average for all owners of phones, which is 1.6 percent.

ComScore has based its data on a three month average ending in November last year.

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