Free-to-play is the greatest thing to happen to the games industry (and gamers) since Pong.  Here’s the thing, though:  it’s common knowledge that only 1-3% of all gamers of free-to-play games pay, the rest don’t.  These gamers are commonly referred to as whales.

According to a new survey by Swrve (pronounced, I have no clue), that 1 – 3% is a bit off, by a lot.  Only .15% of mobile gamers are responsible for 50% of total mobile game revenues.  In biological terms, these players are blue whales (the largest mammals on earth) of the mobile game world.

As reported in VentureBeat, this is a classic good news/bad news story.  These blue whales pay the bills for the mobile games industry and are helping to grow the market to astronomical heights.  The bad news is that the vast majority (let’s call them minnows) are becoming accustomed to playing games for free, and there is no clear path to turn a minnow into a blue whale.

 

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And what happens if these super whales get bored of playing and tired of paying?  .15% is such a small number, just one small drop in this bucket could have a huge impact on the future of the global gaming industry.

In Vegas, whales are comp’d with free hotel suites.  How are these super blue whales rewarded in the games world?