Nielsen Report: Mobile Gaming Grows Stagnant

Classic custom arcade machines are no longer the top sellers in the gaming industry (though we think they should be). Today, mobile, PC and console games take the top spots.

One of best reports to gain insight into the health of the gaming industry is Nielsen Holding’s annual Games 360 report. 2017 marks the eighth year Nielsen has been tracking gaming data through individual surveys, and as usual, the report delivered some surprising (and potentially sobering) news for developers.

Mobile Gaming Levels Off but Revenue Grows

Mobile game developers have enjoyed watching the steadily growing numbers of mobile gamers expand at an unbelievable rate the past few years. Between 2013 and 2016, the ratio of mobile gamers rose from 46 percent to 66 percent among console gamers. But from 2016 to 2017, mobile gaming declined by four percent!

Developers will be happy about this news: even though the number of individual mobile gamers has slightly declined, the amount each individual spends in-game has grown. Annual spending per capita has increased from 60 to 77 U.S. dollars. Even though there are less players, those players are willing to spend more and has powered mobile’s growth from 37 percent of the global games market in 2016 to 42 percent in 2017.

Digital Sales Occupy Larger Market Share

The portion of the U.S. population that desires a physical copy of their new video game is slowly declining. It’s just easier to download games directly – it saves a trip to the store! Digital sales now represent 74 percent of the game sales market and projections show this will only grow in years to come.

Gaming Is the Fourth Most Popular Leisure Activity

TV and movies takes the top spot when it comes to the popularity of leisure activities in the U.S. at 24 percent, followed by internet and social media use at 22 use. Family, friends and social activities came in third at 15 percent, followed by video games at 12 percent. But to be fair, 67 percent of all gamers play in order to be social. Video games continue to present both an effective way to relax and de-stress alone, but also to connect with friends and family all over the globe.