October 31, 2006
The NPD Group: Puzzle Games Still Most Popular Mobile Video Game Downloads

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, October 31, 2006 – Most mobile- and gaming-industry watchers already know that simple puzzle games, like Tetris, are among the most popular downloads to mobile devices. But according to The NPD Group, a leading consumer and retail information company, the key reasons people download specific game titles varies widely. In addition, the consumer’s age plays an important role in the download rationale.

The top five most commonly downloaded games (based on unit share) in August 2006 were the following:

  1. Tetris
  2. Bejeweled
  3. Tetris Deluxe
  4. Pac-Man
  5. Diner Dash

“When attempting to spur new downloads, publishers and carriers need to consider that not all consumers make their game download decision based on the same criteria,” said Neil Strother, senior industry analyst for The NPD Group. “If companies want to cover the entire market successfully, they must leverage multi-pronged marketing and promotional strategies to effectively reach consumers of all different ages.”

Based on the latest data from NPD’s Mobile Game Track monthly data service, teens (age 13-17) are more likely than other age groups to download a game because of a free trial or demo. Young adults (age 18 to 24) cite the game title as the most important criteria, while older adults (age 25 to 34) stated that a positive review affected their decision. Adults 35 and older cited price as their top rationale for downloading specific titles. 

The top reasons given by consumers of all ages for downloading specific games was an appreciation for the overall genre (57 percent), followed by price (28 percent) and special offers like free trials (26 percent). The top mobile game genres downloaded in August 2006 were as follows:

  1. Puzzle Games, 35%
  2. Sports Games, 13%
  3. Action Games, 12%
  4. Card and Casino Games, 12%
  5. Arcade Games, 7%

“Most consumers prefer to have a comfort level with a particular game, before they‘re willing to pay for it,” Strother said. “Games and publishers with strong name recognition have an edge on games that aren’t as well known, but free trials and other marketing tactics can help entice consumers to take chances on new titles.”

Methodology: NPD’s Mobile Game Track offers an in-depth and comprehensive examination of consumer spending and usage of mobile games. This monthly tracking service combines NPD’s extensive knowledge of the traditional gaming market with rich analysis and insight into mobile gaming consumers’ product satisfaction, ownership and future purchase intent. Based on an ongoing monthly survey of approximately 75,000 U.S. consumers, Mobile Game Track is carefully calibrated against U.S. Census statistics to represent the population of individuals between the ages of 13 and 44. For more information about NPD’s offerings in this business sector, visit wireless.npd.com.

© 2006 The NPD Group

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