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November 09, 2007

Mobile Gaming Market to Reach $10 billion by 2009

By Calvin Azuri, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Juniper Research is predicting the mobile games market will reach $10 billion by 2009, largely thanks to the rapidly rising popularity of casual gaming as well as the surge of gaming-friendly handsets that provide high quality 3D graphics.
Report author Dr. Windsor Holden said, “Game downloads have already overtaken those of ringtones in a number of Western European markets, while mobile handsets are now the de facto games console in many developing countries.”
According to Juniper Research, over 460 million mobile users are expected to download games by 2009, a two-fold increase from the status quo. Most of this growth is expected in emerging markets, like the Indian subcontinent, where estimates are that the number of users will grow from 10 million currently to nearly 40 million in 2009.

Despite this growth, the research firm cautions that the steep cost of browsing and downloading services and content, along with opaque pricing structures may present an impediment to service adoption.
Juniper Research has also observed the number of products targeted at female gamers has also increased, which is an encouraging factor, it says, adding that there is still plenty of opportunity for growth of the industry.
“Essentially, the proportion of leading titles focusing on action and adventure has not altered discernibly over the past two years,” Holden said. “While these are popular within the traditional gaming demographic, there is a major opportunity to attract casual gamers by enhancing a portfolio mix with more titles from alternative genres.”
Other key findings from the research include seeing China and the Far East continue to be the biggest regional market for mobile games, where revenues are expected to increase from approximately $2.7 billion in 2007 to $5.7 billion by 2012.  
Global revenues from in-game advertising will increase from $90 million in 2007 to more than $1.2 billion in 2012
Further adoption and growth, it says, can be driven through an increase in the number of games offered on a free trial basis. The entry price barrier has to be removed for these games, so that a greater number of consumers play the game and gradually convert into paid customers.
Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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