Kids Prefer Mobile Devices Over Consoles And PCs For Gaming Fix

Back when I was a kid, mobile gaming meant packing up my collection of He-Man figures, Voltron and GoBot toys, and other awesome 1980s items and bringing them to a friend's house. It's a different world now, one that's dominated by pocket-sized computers (we call them smartphones) capable of playing graphically intensive games. They're not only capable, they're the preferred method for playing games among today's youth.

According to market research firm The NPD Group, more kids and teens between the ages of 2-17 in the U.S. play games on mobiles devices like phones and tablets (63 percent) than on consoles (60 percent) or PCs (45 percent), the latter of which is down 22 percentage points since 2013. The decline in PC gaming applies throughout the age group, though it's most pronounced among children ages 2-5.

Doodle Jump Phone

"The largest and most surprising shift in the 2015 gaming ecosystem was kids’ move away from the computer," said Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group. "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. 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."

Many kids and teens (41 percent) in the 2-17 year old ago group are also spending more time gaming on their preferred devices compared to a year ago, with the average time spent now at 6 hours.

Despite this trend, physical game sales still top spending on digital games. The average amount spent on a physical title is $27, compared to $13 for a digital game. It's not clear if The NPD Group's figures on digital game sales include microtransactions or not.