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Got Game? Smartphones Now Lead The Charge

More smartphone users are downloading games to their handsets, a sign that iPhones and BlackBerries are becoming preferred mobile gaming devices.

A recent study from comScore found that 34 percent of mobile game downloaders in November owned a smartphone, compared with only 10 percent the year before.

The study found that the overall number of people who download mobile games grew 17 percent from November 2007 to November 2008, when 8.5 million people, or 3.8 percent of all mobile subscribers, downloaded games to their mobile device.

And while mobile game downloads are on the rise, comScore noted in the study that smartphones that are leading the charge.

"The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in the United States has proved a boost for mobile gaming, as 34 percent of those downloading a game in November did so using a smartphone," Mark Donovan, senior ComScore analyst, said in a statement. "Last year, not one smartphone appeared in the top 10 devices used for mobile downloads. This year, six out of 10 are smartphones, excluding devices with smartphone-like functionality, such as [Samsung] Instinct and [LG] Voyager, which also make appearances."

ComScore said the Apple iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry Curve are now replacing low-end devices like the Motorola RAZR and others as the most popular mobile gaming platforms. The study found that the number of smartphone users downloading games nearly tripled in November 2008 while it decreased 14 percent among traditional feature phone owners.

It is the Apple iPhone that is kicking smartphone gaming into high gear, comScore said. iPhone owners accounted for 14 percent of mobile game downloaders in November, with 32.4 percent of all iPhone users reporting that they have downloaded a game in that month, a big jump from the market average of 3.8 percent. In November 2007, roughly 734,000 games were downloaded to smartphones. In November 2008, that number jumped 291 percent year-over-year to nearly 2.9 million.

"As the mobile phone has evolved into a better platform for both playing and merchandising games, the games being offered have also improved, drawing in a broader user base," Donovan said in the statement.

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