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Mobile gaming revenue set for a boom – analysts

By   |  June 19, 2007

Analysts Gartner are predicting a 50 percent increase in worldwide revenue for 2007 in the mobile gaming sector. Global gaming revenue in 2006 was US$2.9 billion and the company expects this to incease to US$9.6 billion by 2011. Revenue is expected to reach US$4.3 billion in 2007, a 49.9 percent increase from 2006.  

"Given the ubiquity of mobile phones in many markets and the ease of game-play, mobile gaming is expected to reach more of the global population than has been the case for traditional PC and console gaming," said Tuong Huy Nguyen, senior research analyst at Gartner.

"This will catapult mobile gaming revenue beyond that from mobile TV and adult content, but we still expect it to lag behind mobile music, since music is a more familiar form of entertainment."  

For this forecast, Gartner defined mobile gaming as video games on mobile phones. This included preloaded software on mobile phones, games downloaded for use offline, as well as games requiring access to online resources and those purchased on removable media, such as flash memory cards. The revenue figures do not include demos and preloaded and prebundled games because there is no direct consumer revenue component to these.  

In a release today Gartner said that more operators have opened up their billing systems during the past couple of years, giving content providers the opportunity to sell products directly to consumers. As operators relax their control over networks, publishers have taken the opportunity to take a more active role in marketing mobile games, capitalising on their expertise to maximise distribution and education about available content.

Big spenders

Among the big spenders on mobile gaming are the Asia/Pacific region and Japan where revenue for 2007 is forecast to surpass $1.8 billion in 2007 and reach $4.6 billion in 2011. "The high revenue correlates with higher data consumption in countries such as South Korea and Japan and reflects the bigger appetite for mobile gaming in this region," Gartner said. It also said it expects high-growth markets such as China and India to bolster mobile gaming growth even further.  

In Australia, Gartner estimates that approximately 10 percent of mobile Internet users are regular gamers. In Western Europe, mobile gaming end user revenue is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2007 to $2 billion in 2011. In Gartner’s most recent survey among Western European consumers, 10 percent of those surveyed said they had used mobile online gaming and had downloaded games at least once a month. However, only 2 percent of their mobile data service spending was on gaming.  

There are differences in the types of games that sell well in Europe, according to Gartner. Germans apparently downloaded more strategy and quiz games, whereas the British were more interested in sports and puzzle games.

Fourth-fifths of people who downloaded games in Europe prefer to do so from their operator’s portal.  

In North America, mobile gaming end user revenue is forecast to reach $716.9 million in 2007 and reach $1.7 billion in 2011. This region has been slower to adopt mobile gaming than many had hoped. Gartner analysts said part of the reason was the slower adoption of wireless technologies. At the end of 2006, data revenue accounted for less than 13 percent of total mobile telecom service revenue – one of the lowest proportions among developed nations.

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