Mobile gaming trumps console growth

11 Dec 2007

Mobile gaming is demonstrating stronger growth than the console and handheld segments of the gaming market despite the fact it is coming from a smaller market share, new research from Understanding & Solutions claims.

This places mobile in second position behind the online games market.

“Global revenues from mobile gaming are pegged at US$3.6bn this year,” says Understanding & Solutions analyst David Rouse, “and we predict this figure to rise to US$6bn by 2011.

“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.

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 micro-transactions – 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 10pc of global revenues in 2011.

By John Kennedy