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Carriers to Concede Mobile Games Market

According to a new market study, mobile gamers will soon begin migrating from the traditional carrier deck -- which refers broadly to the carrier maintained storefront on the handset -- to newer, more innovative channels.

A new Parks Associates report finds mobile game revenue generated through carrier decks will decrease from 90 percent of the total U.S. mobile gaming revenue to 72 percent in the next five years. By 2012, off-deck channels and ad-supported or subsidized mobile gaming will account for 28 percent of the market.

"Lack of competition has left most carrier decks with an uninspired user interface and poor merchandising environment, which contributed to the recent market stagnation," said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director of Broadband and Gaming, Parks Associates.

Off-deck marketing and distribution, combined with new business models such as mobile game advertising, episodic content delivery, and micro-payments, will rekindle industry growth.

Parks Associates reports that many market forces are driving off-deck distribution of mobile content and services, including the growing influence of established media companies, experiments with alternative distribution channels and advertising models, and recent efforts to open carriers' walled gardens, including the Open Handset Alliance and Nokia's Ovi services.

"Many mobile game publishers are working on off-deck initiatives," Cai said. "Even carriers like AT&T are building business-to-business platforms to allow game publishers to market and distribute games directly to mobile gamers."

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