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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

$10 Billion Global Mobile Gaming Upside by 2014

The rapid growth in mobile phone game apps continues to drive the mobile gaming industry, with the total market on track to reach nearly $10 billion worldwide by 2014, according to the latest market study by Futuresource Consulting.

In 2010, the Apple App Store alone, excluding iPad, is forecast to generate around $1.7 billion in games revenues globally, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total mobile gaming market.

In comparison, traditional mobile games account for 60 percent, with other apps stores, in particular the Android market, representing the remaining 10 percent.

"There is no doubt that paid-for apps games are leading the gaming charge," says Patrik Pfandler, Lead Mobile Analyst at Futuresource, "and our forecasts show apps-based gaming will account for more than 95 percent of total mobile gaming revenues by 2014 -- that's despite the glut of free game apps out there."

The growth of in-apps payments is a key ingredient in the commercial success of apps gaming. The freemium business model -- where the game is downloaded for free, but incorporates micro-transactions and virtual currencies -- is encouraging users to unlock additional features, new levels and premium content.

According to Futuresource, the accelerating adoption of smartphones has been the primary driver in apps growth, with high quality touchscreens, powerful programmable processors, improved graphics and cameras, increased storage, accelerometer and GPS all becoming standard.

Futuresource expects smartphone ownership to grow by 50 percent in 2010, achieving 270 million units worldwide, with the uptake being driven by the increased availability of devices, continued strong sales of iPhones and a growing demand for Android-powered mobile handsets.

And, although the Android market currently lacks the variety of quality apps and games titles that can be found in the Apple App Store, Google's mobile platform is rapidly gaining a share of the apps market, as more games developers and publishers begin to migrate across.