iPhone 15 hits play – How the new gaming push could deliver more growth in the US
October 4th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

iPhone 15 hits play – How the new gaming push could deliver more growth in the US

iPhone’s foray into hardcore gaming was among the noteworthy updates from the 'Wonderlust' event where Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Devices. The devices will allow owners to natively play demanding titles such as as Resident Evil 4 Remake or Assassin’s Creed Mirage – titles that have typically been limited to the realm of PC/Console gaming.

In this piece we dip into YouGov Profiles data in the US to see how this concerted effort at an enhanced gaming experience can help iPhone further penetrate a market it already dominates.

The first thing to note is that iPhone ownership among self-described hardcore gamers lags behind the average American population. To be clear, Apple handsets are still among the most popular smartphone devices among those who describe themselves as hardcore gamers, with 30% of this audience saying they use an iPhone as their primary device. But this is markedly lower than the share of non-gaming Americans who own an iPhone as a primary device (41%).

In fact, there is a clear and linear correlation between the strength of one’s gaming identity and the share of those who say they own an iPhone as a primary device.

It’s important to note here that hardcore gamers and mid-core gamers collectively make up over a fifth of the overall American population (22%). If iPhone’s fresh appeal to the gaming community brings iPhone ownership among this group even just at par to those of non-gamers, it will no doubt represent significant market share gains for what is already America’s No.1 phone brand. This doesn’t even account for potential gains that iPhone’s gaming push could earn it among casual gamers, who make up 40% of the American population.

But if iPhone’s gaming play is to bear fruit among hardcore and mid-core gamers, they will need to understand these audiences in order to release the types of games that this audience does want to play. First things first, launching titles that have typically been contained to PC and consoles appears to be a move in the right direction, given that three-fourths of this group (76%) are PC/Console gamers – i.e., they play on these platforms for at least one hour each week. By comparison, just 60% of them play smartphone games for the same duration each week. So the prospect of playing heavy titles on an iPhone could be a huge attraction.

But what genres do the hardcore and mid-core gamers enjoy playing on the PC or console setups? Among hardcore and mid-core gamers, action/adventure games are the most popular, with about 58% of gamers enjoying them. First Person Shooter games come next at around 39% popularity, followed by Massively Multiplayer/RPGs at about a third of the audience (35%).

Casual games are liked by roughly 33% of gamers, while Racing games and Strategy/Puzzle games both have around 32% appeal. Simulation games like The Sims and Harves Moon enjoy popularity with three-tenths of this audience (28%).

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Image Credit: Jonas Leupe on Unsplash