Game app downloads are more popular among smartphone users, and nearly all of them are willing to pay for those game apps. This was one of the highlights of a recently conducted Nielsen survey regarding smartphone use covering a 30-day period.

According to Nielsen, game apps are the most popular category of mobile apps downloaded by survey respondents within the last 30 days. About 64% of the respondents have downloaded games apps in the last month. Weather apps (60% of respondents) and social networking apps (56%) come at second and third place, respectively. Amazingly, only 44% of users listen to music with their smartphones.

Another interesting item in the recent Nielsen report is the finding that 93% of game apps downloaders are willing to pay for the games. In contrast, only 76% are willing to shell out cash for news apps. Eighty-seven percent of users are willing to pay for entertainment apps, while 84% are willing to pay for productivity apps. The high percentage of users willing to pay for game apps seems to suggest that smartphones have become more than just communication devices but also gaming devices.

More than half of users of iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android smartphones prefer to download their game apps rather than have the apps preloaded on the smartphones. In terms of gaming time, users of iOS-run smartphones spend the most number of hours in gaming compared to users of smartphones running other operating systems. iOS phone users spent an average of 14.7 hours in the last 30 days playing game apps on their smartphones. Android users, on the other hand, spent only an average of 9.3 hours in gaming. The average mobile user plays games for an average of 7.8 hours a month.

The popularity of game apps on smartphones can be attributed to the wide appeal of many game apps across a broad audience. Most of the popular games (e.g., Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja) are very easy to learn, have very attractive graphics, and are pleasurable time-killers. Such games depart greatly from the complexity and steep learning curve of hard-core games that appeal only to a very small segment of gamers who also tend to be loyal to those games.

What about you? What category of apps do you download to your smartphone? And, are you willing to pay for those apps?

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