Most mobile gamers stop playing new games after 24 hours

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Swrve's New Players Report says only 33.9% of mobile gamers play the same game after the first day, though some say that isn't as bad as it sounds

MANILA, Philippines – How long do most mobile game developers have to capture the hearts and minds of their target audience? A recent report released by app testing and analytics group Swrve has sobering numbers that say most mobile games have only a day to catch a player’s interest.

According to Swrve’s New Players Report, only 33.9% of those trying a game out keep playing after the first day. Swrve also notes a “steep fall off,” with only 5.5% continuing to play a game past its 30th day. While 54.5% of those playing spent 5 sessions playing the game, 19.3% of players stop playing after their first try.

Game developers may also want to note a breakdown of who spends for games. According to Swrve, only 2.2% actually make a purchase on a free-to-play mobile game with microtransactions. The data also shows 40% of these paying players only make a single purchase, while 6.2% make at least 10 purchases. It also showed that around one quarter of the paying players make a purchase within the first day.

In the 90-day cycle, Swrve notes that 46% of the revenue came from the top 10% of those spending.

In an interview with Re/code, Swrve CEO Hugh Reynolds said the report was a “word of caution around user acquisition.” He said games have to be effective quickly if they want to engage people, while also acknowledging that certain players do not respond well to the certain signals.

While this may seem like a small subset, Ben Cousins, a 15-year videogame industry veteran who has worked on free-to-play games, responded to the report by tweeting that 40% of players returning on the second day – from day zero returning on day one, he later clarifies – “is great numbers, a sign of a real hit.”

He also noted that Swrve may be “trying to paint a depressing picture to sell services.” He says that such numbers “are totally normal” and “can drive success.”

Swrve’s New Players Report covers data from the first 90 days, taking in usage information from new players of games from the month of November 2013. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.