Mobile gaming revenue to grow 19% this year

Making them pay

Market researcher Gartner has calculated that worldwide revenue generated by mobile gaming will top $5.6 billion this year – representing a 19 percent increase on 2009.

Apple pioneered the mobile app store with the iPhone, Google and Nokia aren’t far behind, with the Android Market and Ovi Store, respectively. Gartner estimates that 70-80 percent of all mobile consumer app downloads are games, but that 60-70 percent of those are free. It doesn’t expect that trend to change in a hurry.

The hype around mobile application stores has opened this market up to numerous publishers and developers – further expanding revenue potential and competition in this industry,” said Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Although we expect most mobile gamers to continue to gravitate toward ‘free’ games, we do not expect the ad-supported model to take off within the next three years – despite the success we have seen with this approach in the Japanese market.

While Nguyen doesn’t detail why he doesn’t think the ad-funded model will take-off soon, he does reveal that improving hardware interfaces, better use of phone features like GPS, cameras and accelerometers, and easier access to games via things like mobile discovery, low data costs and direct billing, are all contributing to increased adoption.

Users from developing markets will also benefit as more-capable phones move down-market,” concluded Nguyen. “Moreover, as more devices become connected, consumer electronic devices, such as tablets and portable gaming consoles, will join this space, adding another aspect to the market.


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