Mobile game developer and publisher MocoSpace recently polled 10,000 players to find out "Y U Play?", and the most striking data showed that a whooping 31% if respondents were playing games in the middle of class. Just about as many respondents were playing mobile games because they were bored as those who played because they actually enjoy the games. Those two categories combined made up two thirds of the top reasons. 10% were looking for competition, 9% were trying to meet new people, 6% were just trying something new 3% were looking for somewhere to flirt(!), 3% played because they were always on the go, 2% played to connect with friends, and 1% to connect with family.
I could only imagine that it's an uphill battle for educators to keep the attention of younger generations that were pretty much born with these gadgets in their hands. Higher learning institutes are certainly doing their best to engage through mobile tech, but games are always going to be a temptation, especially with so many great free ones available. I know I would have had a hard time staying focused in class if smartphones were a big thing when I was in school.
It was also a little disconcerting to see that many people weren't actually that engaged with the games and were just looking to kill time. It's not surprising considering the rise of casual games, but it does mean that developers face an uphill battle against fickle end-users. It's more funny than anything that flirtation is a significant enough reason to play games to even show up on the chart, nevermind that it's a bigger pull than being a way to connect with friends.
I play smartphone games because they're fun, plain and simple. Meeting new people and competing aren't particularly high on my list, but what about you guys? What impulse drives you to bust out Angry Birds?