infoPLANT conducted a survey regarding mobile phone game usage in Japan amongst 8,984 users of the DoCoMo iMode sevice, by offering the survey through the iMode menuing system. The questionnaire was available for a week in mid-November, and of the 8,984 respondents, 63.5% were female.
infoPLANT’s survey methods obviously indicate that they will most likely result in an over-representation of the heavy user demographic, but regardless this still presents an interesting snapshot on how some people use their mobile phones. One could argue that since a previous survey showed the majority of people were on unlimited usage plans (although the methodology of that survey was probably flawed), these consumers could more easily budget for pay games, and download them without worrying about additional transmission costs over and above the basic fee. Also note that almost all mobile phones come with built-in games, not just Tetris clones and the like, but pretty good quality commercial-grade RPGs and pet simulators. As for my own phone, I have a nice golf game, but I beat that and quit, and the shoot-em-up is no fun. I once downloaded a trial version of a pay-for game, but it took a long, long time and the game play was rather lacking, so basically I haven’t played any games at all this year.
Q1: About how often do you play games on your mobile phone? (Sample size=8,984)
All Male Female About every day 38.4% 35.6% 40.0% About two or three days per week 19.3% 21.4% 18.1% About one day per week 12.3% 14.0% 11.4% About one or two days per month 11.1% 11.2% 11.1% About one day every two or three months or less 7.9% 7.3% 8.3% Never play games 10.9% 10.5% 11.2%
Q2: Where did you obtain your mobile phone games from? (Sample size=8,003, multiple answer)
Free site 69.4% 68.7% 69.8% Pay site 42.0% 43.5% 41.2% Advertising campaign gift, etc 26.5% 26.0% 26.8% Built-in game 42.3% 42.2% 42.3% Other 1.5% 1.7% 1.4%
Note that there is no significant difference between the sexes. Other may include uploading via interface cable or memory card, but since most mobile phones are locked down tight, this is not an option available to many people.
Looking at the detailed age breakdown, a few interesting points can be noted: men in their forties are most likely to play advertising campaign-related games, and for both sexes, those in their twenties are most likely to pay for games, whilst teenagers are most likely to prefer downloaded free ones.
Looking at frequency of playing games versus where they were obtained, daily players are almost twice as likely to play paid-for games as weekly players.
Q3: In the last three months, about how many times have you downloaded games to your mobile phone? (Sample size=8,003)
None 20.5% 17.3% 22.3% Once 17.9% 17.3% 18.3% Twice 17.2% 17.4% 17.1% Thrice 16.0% 16.6% 15.7% Four times 4.7% 4.7% 4.7% Five or more times 23.7% 26.7% 21.9%
Looking at the breakdown by age, the heaviest downloaders were not surprisingly teenage males, with 57.1% of them downloading five or more times, followed by the blue rinse set, women fifty or over, at 33.9%!