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Zynga Slots debuts on iOS; PopCap mobile survey shows social game decline

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zynga-slots-popcap-mobile-surveySocial game behemoth Zynga has announced the release of Zynga Slots for Apple iOS mobile devices. It’s the third game released under the Zynga Casino umbrella (following Zynga Poker and Zynga Bingo) and the second to go mobile (the other being Poker). The company says players will enjoy such features as “offline mode,” which allows you to spin the reels anytime, anywhere. It’s also available in 10 languages – including Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean – reflecting Zynga’s desire to broaden its influence beyond North America into the expanding Asian mobile market. There are obviously social networking elements incorporated into the game play, as well as “delightful animations,” but other than that, it’s, well, slots. Regardless, the release seems to have had its desired effect, namely, arresting this week’s disastrous plummet in the price of Zynga stock. Zynga shares rose 10.65% on Friday, closing at $5.56.

Zynga obviously knows that, despite what the late Whitney Houston may have told you, children aren’t our future; mobile is. Games developer PopCap recently released its third annual survey of US and UK mobile game use (compiled by Information Solutions from a sample of 1,004 adults) that shows 44% of mobile gamers had played in the past month (up from 34% in 2011). The number of daily gamers has grown from 35% in 2011 to 45% this year, with 22% playing over three hours a week (up from 14%). In terms of favorite devices among all game play, phones (33%) held a slight edge over computers (32%), with dedicated consoles well back at 18% and tablets at 13%.

The average mobile gamer is 39.5 years old, about the same as in 2011, while the average age of tablet-only gamers is 44.7 years old (bigger screens appeal to aging eyes, we imagine). Among those who used both tablets and phones, 40% were increasingly choosing the tablet over their phone to play games. The number one factor contributing to increased mobile game play was the availability of more free games, followed by the acquisition of a newer/better phone. Just 10% of users purchased in-game currency with real-world money on games they acquired for free, a number that fell to 5% when the user had paid money to originally acquire the game. The number of mobile users who purchase game content and in-game currency was flat from 2011 to 2012, with projections to remain flat into 2013.

Interestingly, the percentage of users who played social games on their mobiles on a daily basis fell from 30% in 2011 to 24% this year, while once-weekly players fell from 10% to 7%. The number who said they never played mobile social games increased from 26% to 30%. Uh-oh…