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Mobile Gaming Soft Global Market Outlook

The mobile games market is growing, but will need to overcome several hurdles to gain mass-market acceptance, according to Informa Telecoms and Media. Chief among the challenges facing the industry is the difficulty consumers encounter finding, purchasing and downloading mobile games.

"The quality of mobile games has improved significantly over the past year, but it will be tough to convince consumers of that until the content discovery and provisioning process is simplified," says Chris Coffman, senior analyst at Informa and author of the report. "Though mobile gaming has grown into a $2.4 billion business in 2006, it is not yet a mass-market activity. The 5 percent of mobile subscribers who download mobile games today won't be the engine driving the next five years of growth in the industry. Mobile operators, content providers and others in the gaming ecosystem need to work together to make mobile gaming more attractive to the remaining 95 percent."

The report reveals progress is being made. Successful operators have engaged in better management of their mobile games portals, stepped up their marketing efforts, and introduced flexible billing for games. For some mobile games publishers, high-end 3D games have become a profitable niche, while multiplayer and community-enabled games have increased usage and driven down churn. These improvements set the stage for the continued growth of the mobile games industry. Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that by 2011 worldwide revenues from mobile games will reach $7.2 billion.

The Asia Pacific region will continue to dominate the mobile games market, accounting for nearly half of worldwide mobile games revenues in 2011. North America is positioned for strong growth, however, and by 2010 the U.S. will overtake Japan as the largest single-country market for mobile games.

Europe, historically the second-strongest region after Asia Pacific, has experienced sluggish growth in the mobile games industry due to legacy infrastructure and the cost associated with porting and distributing games across the region's multitude of mobile operators, countries and languages.

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