Mass market casual games will drive growth in the gaming industry over the next three years with female gamers emerging as a powerful market force, new research from Juniper has revealed.
In particular, Juniper said games growth will be driven by a corresponding increase in mobile subscriber numbers and the increased pace of 3G service rollout. This, it said, will lead to a new generation of “made for mobile” games.
The analyst firm said that games which utilise the inherent strengths of the mobile platform, rather than try to replicate console or PC games on a small mobile phone handset, will be key.
In addition to the traditional core 12-25-year old male electronic games players, older players and female players are becoming increasingly influential, Juniper said.
The first generation of electronic games playing kids are now in their middle ages and many are looking for ways to continue to play games suited to their hectic lifestyles, the analyst firm claimed.
More and more games designed with the female psyche in mind are brought to the market.
Juniper Research estimated that global revenues for mobile games will grow from US$3bn in 2006 to US$10.5bn in 2009. Looking further into the future, continued growth of mobile subscribers in developing markets and a continuation of the demographic shift will propel the global mobile games market to annual revenues of US$17.6bn.
This will produce a cumulative revenue stream of nearly US$57bn over the six years. The Asia Pacific region has dominated the market since its inception, with the Japanese and South Korean markets in the vanguard. Asia Pacific is forecast to contribute 38pc of cumulative revenues 2006 to 2011, Europe 31pc and North America 22pc.
Bruce Gibson, research director at Juniper Research, remarked: “I think mobile games have come of age. They are no longer the poor relations of console and PC games. They are a different family of entertainment products with its own family characteristics.
“The casual games sector is going to be the market driver, even though it may not be at the leading edge of mobile games technology. Casual games make most use of the inherent advantages of the mobile platform. People want to fill ‘dead time’ with easy-to-use but fun games. This is the same in just about every culture.”
He added: “A lot of market and media focus is currently on mobile music and TV. However, Juniper believes that over the next three to five years mobile games offer almost as much revenue earning potential for service providers as mobile music and mobile TV.”
By John Kennedy