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The “Whales” of Mobile: Hardcore Gamers

by William Schwartz

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Ah yes, the whales. A term used cynically by gamers and business alike, to degrade those who throw money at the game like it’s pocket change. Exploited by the likes of Zynga and various other free-to-play companies, whales form the lifeblood of free-to-play. They spend and spend and make up most of the revenue for the game. In short, the very few support the many. Some might allude them to a “high roller” in Vegas.

Mobile “Whales” are core gamers according to recent study

Whales have been derided as soccer parents too impatient to win at Candy Crush, little kids who don’t understand the meaning of the word patience, and casual gamers who just like to spend, spend, spend. In short, they are anything but the “hardcore gamer”. Yet, if a study by the EEDAR is correct, that is all misplaced. According to EEDAR, two-thirds of the “whales” were male, with the average age being 30.2 years. Even more surprisingly, the whales claimed that they spent roughly 25 percent of their gaming time on consoles and 10 percent on dedicated handhelds, with the average gaming time being 26.5 hours of gaming a week. The non-whales, in contrast, spent 15 percent on consoles and 3 percent on dedicated handhelds.

EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich wasn’t surprised, saying, “”While the report focuses solely on mobile gamers and their playing habits, it is a fair statement that a portion of our top mobile spenders are part of the core console gaming community. It’s not surprising. Core gamers have been conditioned to spend money on traditional games and it is fair to assume this habit carries with them into to other gaming verticals. To this crowd, spending $1.99 to break a few jelly blocks in Candy Crush Saga is worth the purchase price. Or even $50+ is easily justifiable. They likely view it as an investment, as most hobbyists do.”

The survey also indicated that 78 percent of people who spent $50.00 or more were satisfied with their purchases. However, due to the negative stigma around purchasing things in free-to-play, most did not identify themselves.

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