According to Online Gaming 2011 from market research company The NPD Group, digital game downloads for mobile devices represent close to half (47 percent) of all video full-game downloads (this excludes micro-transactions and add-on content to be used with previously purchased or acquired full-games). Even among those using a console for online gaming, the biggest share of full game digital downloads purchased was for mobile devices, followed by personal computers, consoles, portables and other systems comprising the remainder of the device destinations for full-game downloads.
Mobile gaming represents one of the fastest growing segments of the digital games market, and potential for future growth remains strong as more consumers are using smartphones for games of all types including the increasingly popular mobile game apps. It is important to keep in perspective that the full-game price points on mobile devices are generally lower than those for console and portables systems, so mobile's full-game download unit share does not translate to a comparable level of consumer spending.
Among those who purchased a mobile game in the past three months, 60 percent indicated that they are still spending the same or more on console and portable games since they started purchasing for their mobile devices, while 40 percent reported spending less. While there is clearly some substitution for spending on traditional forms of gaming among 40 percent of consumers, the majority of mobile consumers indicate that this spending is incremental to their spend on console or portable games, which makes sense since the games and devices provide for different types of gaming occasions and experiences.
When asked to choose between a physical and digital game (assuming price and time of release were the same), 75 percent said they would buy physical and not digital with the main reason provided being that they simply like owning a "real" copy. The 25 percent who would choose digital cited as their top reason the convenience of downloading at home and not having to go to the store.