Gartner: Mobile gaming revenue in ’08 to top US$4.5 billion

Worldwide mobile gaming revenue is on pace to total US$4.5 billion in 2008, a 16.1 per cent increase from 2007 revenue of US$3.9 billion, according to Gartner. While mobile gaming revenue will continue to lag behind other value-added entertainment services — such as music and adult content — the market still has much potential.

“Although current consumer interest in, and usage of, mobile gaming is generally low, the potential for growth remains lucrative, with the market skewed toward lower-income segments, mobile workers and smartphone and personal digital assistant (PDA) users,” said Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal analyst at Gartner.

“The fact that mobile gaming provides good value for the money is one reason for the healthy growth rate,” Nguyen said. “For a relatively small sum, consumers can enjoy a game over and over again, which is particularly relevant in emerging economies where penetration of consoles and PCs is lower. Video games in their original versions (on PCs or consoles) represent a form of entertainment recognized across a wide population, while portable consoles have also taken the market a step towards gaming on a mobile device. Finally, game publishers and mobile operators are getting better at working together and becoming more active in the mobile gaming space.”

Gartner predicts that mobile gaming revenue will experience a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 per cent between 2007 and 2011 with worldwide end-user spending reaching US$6.3 billion in 2011. Analysts said mobile operators and other game providers should build usage by offering game demos or advertising-funded games.

“Mobile operators must maximize customer profiles and devices by tailoring marketing to individual consumer segments,” said Jessica Ekholm, principal analyst at Gartner. “These operators should target smartphone users with more-sophisticated mobile games and lower-income users with discounted or advertising-subsidized games, or even differentiated service offerings such as ‘pay per game’ in order to increase usage.”

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