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iPhone is the Catalyst for a Burgeoning Population of ‘Casual Gamers’

What’s that guy doing on his iPhone? Most likely guess: playing games. A new generation of “casual gamers,” which can describe anyone from tight-scheduled businessman to a stay-at-home mom, is a phenomenon spawned by the iPhone.

The iconic iPhone, which is arguably the most popular smartphone ever invented, is a mobile device that has, waiting at its beck and call, around 50,000 apps—tech-speak for ‘applications.’ As mini-programs, apps can be anything from a recommended work-out routine, a carpenter’s level, a remote control, or even a compass. With new apps being created every day, the limitation of what is being invented is the limit of the inventor’s mind and the powerful platform of the iPhone.

iPhone is the Catalyst for a Burgeoning Population of ‘Casual Gamers’

However, around ten thousand of the fifty-thousand iPhone apps are games. That’s a lot of games. My own device hosts a total of 37 apps, eight of which are games. That ratio, the number of games I have verses the number of apps on my device, is just about on average with the 20% of all apps being games.

Apple’s App Store, the one-stop shop for all these apps, has downloaded more than one billion apps since opening day. Educated guessers speculate that more than half of those billion downloads—five hundred million plus—are games.

Apple, whether intentionally or accidentally, has touched off a growing generation of these casual gamers who play games on their iPhone while commuting, listening to music, waiting in line, sitting in class, or even while working. Greg Joswiak, Apple executive, heralds the iPhone as the “future of gaming.” But is that ‘future’ already upon us? By recent report, iPhone gamers now consist of a nearly 80% of the iPhone population, a population that has passed the 40 million member mark.

So what is a ‘casual gamer,’ and how does one know if he or she is one? Nearly everyone is a casual gamer. You are a casual gamer if you’ve played any electronic game, and don’t play it all the time. By more specific definition, the casual gamer is anyone “who show[s] more than a passing interest in video games.” In other words, casual gamers have a life outside of playing games.

Casual gamers are the approximate opposite of a hardcore gamer—someone who spends nearly all of their time playing video games. These are the kind of people who were able to beat Super Mario Brothers 3 in eleven minutes…when they were four years old. MegaGamers defines the hardcore gamer as “a male, between 14 – 34 years of age who has gaming in their top priority list, for example, someone who would prefer to play a game instead of sleeping at night or watching TV. Basically a game addict.”

iPhone users they are not. (The screen is too small.) But the growing demographic of casual gamers bodes well for a growing niche market of casual games. And for the present, Apple has a virtual monopoly on the market.

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