Over 70 percent of those so-called whales are male, whereas women make up close to 70 percent of the non-paying category. And, perhaps, not surprisingly, the core gamers in mobile (the ones who play the most and spend the most) tend also to be core gamers in other categories.
Zatkin said that could explain the spending habits.
"The gamers of today are entertainment consumers and they're co-opting pretty much any media device and turning it into a gaming platform," he said. "The whales of mobile consist of people who are already used to paying money for games (in other mediums)."
While discovery methods, such as topping the charts or being a featured app, along with word of mouth, drive players to games, the leading influencer is familiarity.
Branded titles – such as new instalments of games people have played before, or mobile versions of hit games on other systems – tend to do better than their competitors, indicating the flood of sequels isn't about to end anytime soon.
When it comes to pulling the trigger on a mobile game, though, it all comes down to the price tag.
"As much as your friend tells you it's awesome, costs are still the leading decider on whether you acquire the game," said Zatkin.