Worldwide mobile gaming revenues will exceed $5.6 billion in 2010, up 19 percent from 2009 revenues of $4.7 billion, according to a new forecast issued by market research firm Gartner. While estimating that games represent as much as 80 percent of all mobile applications downloaded by consumers, Gartner notes that between 60 percent and 70 percent of all game downloads fall into the “free” category–even so, it expects the market to reach revenues of $11.4 billion in 2014.
“The hype around mobile application stores has opened this market up to numerous publishers and developers–further expanding revenue potential and competition in this industry,” said Gartner principal research analyst Tuong Nguyen in a prepared statement. “Although we expect most mobile gamers to continue to gravitate toward ‘free’ games, we do not expect the ad-supported model to take off within the next three years–despite the success we have seen with this approach in the Japanese market.”
Gartner credits the growing popularity of mobile games to increasing demand from emerging markets, where alternative gaming media options are scarce. Also notable: The expanding availability of micropayments, which Gartner says attracts gamers wary of investing larger amounts of money upfront to try out a title and also appeals to groups with limited disposable income. Looking ahead, Gartner contends improvements to search and recommendation tools will also improve mobile gaming take rates, while more competitive data pricing options will lower barriers to adoption.