This is the age of the app. Around three quarters of adults in Lane County own smartphones, and there is no hiding from the fact that they have changed the way we live our lives. Mobile banking, GPS tracking, even stock and Forex trading can all be done from that magical handset that is never out of reach.
With around 3.8 million apps available to download, what sort would you suppose might be the most popular for download? Business apps? They only account for nine percent. Educational ones? Even lower. The truth is, we are all big kids at heart, and around one in every four apps downloaded is a game. Gaming is now an accepted leisure activity for people of all ages, so let’s stop pretending we are working, and take a look at what types of games are the most popular this year.
Everyone likes a brain teaser
Puzzle games are the most popular sub-genre in gaming, according to data from Verto Analytics. Games like Sudoku and Words with Friends attract almost 38 million unique users every month across the USA. They are also the ones with the most loyal following, with a 40 percent “stickiness rating” (this is a measure of how many players keep coming back to the same game). In fact, until the phenomenon that is Pokemon GO entered our lives, Words with Friends was consistently the most popular game in the country.
Are you the next James Bond?
Casino Royale was the book that introduced the world to James Bond, and was set in a thinly disguised Monte Carlo casino. The world’s favourite secret agent has never strayed far from the gaming tables in the 50 plus years we have been following him, and a casino certainly represents one of the most sophisticated forms of gaming. The popularity of smartphones has brought online gambling games to a new type of audience, and the historic Supreme Court decision related to betting activities suggests that this is a type of gaming that could soon sweep across America state by state. At present, Oregon permits lottery and sports-pool betting, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes come over the next few months.
There is something therapeutic and almost mesmerising about jewel matching games such as Candy Crush and Bejewelled. Perhaps this is why they have surged in popularity at the same rate as the increase in mobile gaming. Commuters on the bus or train find these kinds of games the perfect way to wind down on the way home from work.
We mentioned Pokemon GO a moment ago. As far as trending genres are concerned, AR is perhaps the most exciting of all, as it represents a whole new type of gaming. It is far more involving than traditional gaming, which goes some way to explaining its impressive stickiness rating, although this is a sub genre that is still very much in its infancy. The potential for AR is almost unlimited, however, and it will be intriguing to revisit this space again in a couple of years time.
New games for new (old) gamers
Perhaps the most intriguing thing to come out of this analysis is that none of these are the types of games that immediately spring to mind when you talk of “gamers.” No guns, no racing cars, no aliens – not even a football or a baseball bat in sight. Perhaps that is the most telling trend of all. Today’s gamers are a new breed of older players. And the most popular games are ones that are aimed squarely at that market.