New research from entertainment analyst Understanding & Solutions reveals a stronger growth rate in mobile gaming than in console and handheld markets, albeit coming from a smaller market share. This places mobile in second position behind the online games market.
Global revenues from mobile gaming are pegged at $3.6 billion (1.8 billion) this year, and we predict this figure to rise to $6 billion by 2011, says Understanding & Solutions Analyst, David Rouse. Although not seen as the killer application for mobile, games are increasingly important as the market continues to see major growth."
Going forward, technological and infrastructure developments will allow consumers' gaming behaviour to evolve, thus opening up new business model possibilities, the report says. This, coupled with strong growth forecasts in the mid term, is leading to fierce competition in the sector and is impacting upon publishers, network operators, developers and IP owners alike.
Subscription-based and ad-funded models are on the rise," continues Rouse, "and microtransactions - the acquisition of additional levels or virtual goods during gameplay are also beginning to play a part. However, pay per download is still the most significant revenue generator across all regions."
At the same time, an increasing number of traditional content owners are moving into the mobile games space, either by setting up their own mobile games subsidiaries like EA mobile and THQ wireless, or by licensing out content (Sega, Konami, MGM, Universal, Warner). Conversely, existing players in the marketplace are consolidating through mergers and acquisitions.
Looking to emerging markets, particularly China and India, the segment is driven by snowballing mobile phone take-up rates; however, due to comparably low prices, Asia - excluding Korea and Japan - is still expected to account for less than 10% of global revenues in 2011.