iPhone keeping mobile games alive

Downloads of mobile games grew by a whopping 17% in 2008, due to more graphics power in devices like Apple’s iPhone, according to ComScore. A new report from the company shows 8.5 million people – about 3.8% of mobile subscribers – have downloaded games to their mobile device. And while traditional handsets are still the preferred device, smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone and gaining popularity.

“The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in the United States has provided a boost for mobile gaming, as 34% of those downloading a game in November did so using a smartphone,” ComScore senior analyst Mark Donovan said in a statement.

“Last year, not one smartphone appeared in the top 10 devices used for mobile downloads. This year six out of 10 are smartphones, excluding devices with smartphone-like functionality, such as the Instinct and Voyager, which also make appearances.”

Apple iPhone users account for 14% of game downloads, the group says, with 32.4% of all iPhone users having downloaded a game. This is well above the market average of 3.8%. ComScore attributes the higher than average figure to the App Store, which makes downloading and installing games easier than other platforms.

“As the mobile phone has evolved into a better platform for both playing and merchandising games, the games being offered have also been improved, drawing in a broader user base,” Donovan said.

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