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Video game research outfit EEDAR has published data corroborating what many have long suspected: most people play mobile games not for fun, or a challenge, but chiefly to pass some time.
That's something worth considering if you're making mobile games, especially multiplayer ones. EEDAR reports that while roughly 74 percent of North American mobile game players play to kill time, far fewer play to interact or compete with others (12 and 16 percent, respectively.)
This also lends an interesting dimension to last year's report (from Yahoo-owned analytics firm Flurry) of a precipitous decline in the average time Americans spent playing mobile games. At the time Flurry exec Simon Khalaf suggested that Americans were spending less time on their mobile devices actually playing mobile games, and more time watching other people play games.
If people mostly just play mobile games to pass time, it's not hard to imagine that broadening access to high-speed mobile networks and the expanding reach of sites like YouTube and Twitch has afforded many more mobile device owners an alternate way to engage with games on their devices.
This is something EEDAR exec Patrick Walker touched on in his recent GDC 2016 talk on player engagement, which included a fat stack of slides (excerpted below) showcasing the aforementioned breakdown of why people play mobile games in North America and Japan. Intriguingly, in Japan just 5 percent of those surveyed said they played mobile games to compete with others, compared to 16 percent in North America.
The full set of slides from both Walker's talk on engagement and another EEDAR GDC 2016 talk on video game data are available now (and worth perusing) over on EEDAR's website.