Mobile social games are designed to hook players into playing longer and accumulating “wealth” whether that’s virtual gold or a bigger farm with more exotic crops.
Dubbed freemium games by the industry, these games are free to download and play, but gamemakers tempt players with quick ways to level up and gather goods for a fee. A new survey by Flurry Analytics finds that players spend an average of $14 per transaction, with older players more likely to pony up cash if it will save them time.
Gameplay is referred to as “the grind” because it takes time to progress. The Flurry Analytics survey reveals that younger players spend more time “grinding” away at games on their phones, but older players are less patient and will spend cash for quick rewards. This study used data from a sample of iOS and Android freemium games with over 20 million users across more than 1.4 billion sessions.
Gamers between the ages of 13 and 34 represent more than 80 percent of smartphone game time. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 spent the most time gaming, which accounted for 32 percent of total time. At the next age group, 25-34, time gaming dropped slightly to 29 percent.
But money spent to skip the grind skyrocketed in the older group. Nearly 50 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds reported they spend real money on freemium games, compared with only 16 percent in the younger group.
Younger kids are likely to have more time than money, analyst Jeferson Valadares wrote on the Flurry blog.
“The grind is something they're willing or must commit to, in order to progress,” Valadares said. “They can afford (or must be) more patient.”
“On the other hand, 24- (to) 35-year-olds presumably have more disposal income, but less time, due to work and family demands,” he said. “This combination makes them less tolerant to engaging in “the grind,” but also better positioned to buy their way out of it.”