According to NPD Group research from a report titled Kids and Gaming 2015, mobile devices are now the number one gaming platform for kids ages 2 to 17. In fact, mobile makes up 63% of all gaming from that age group. This is a pretty significant change from the past, when computer gaming made up a much higher percentage.
“In the past, the computer was considered the entry point for gaming for most kids, but the game has changed now that mobile has moved into that position,” said NPD analyst Liam Callahan. “This may be related to a change in the behavior of parents that are likely utilizing mobile devices for tasks that were once reserved for computers.”
When you think about it, it isn’t at all surprising that mobile is on the rise. Most households have at least one smartphone, and when you take into consideration the specific ages included in the research—2 to 17—the younger family members are likely using their parents’ mobile devices to play apps. (We know from experience that 3-year-old Ana of Ana’s Apps fame adores her mobile apps.) Many of these games are educational or specifically geared toward babies and toddlers. They have welcomed a whole new generation into games that perhaps wouldn’t have been gaming at all even five years ago. Even I, as a notably young starter, wasn’t playing computer games on my own until age 5 or 6. I’m sure if my dad had offered me a phone to tinker with on road trips at younger ages I would’ve been delighted.
Now, there’s simply a larger share of young people who own their own phones. When people my age were teenagers (I’m in my mid-20s, so not even that long ago), cell phones were blocky and relatively useless compared to today’s technology. You’re far more likely to see a 16-year-old these days using their phone for schoolwork or navigation—or gaming—in addition to socializing.