Worldwide mobile gaming end-user revenue is forecast to surpass $5.6 billion in 2010, a 19 per cent increase from 2009 revenue of $4.7 billion, according to IT research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc.
The market would continue to see steady growth through 2014, when the market is projected to reach $11.4 billion, Gartner said.
"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 Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner.
"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", he said.
Gartner estimates 70 per cent to 80 per cent of all mobile consumer applications downloaded are mobile games. Moreover, 60 per cent to 70 per cent of these downloaded games are "free". This trend is expected to continue for the next two to three years.
Other factors that are boosting the global popularity of mobile gaming include the increasing accessibility of mobile games in emerging markets, where alternative gaming media are limited.
The growing availability of micropayments for mobile games attracts users previously wary of investing larger amounts of money upfront to try out a game and also attracts groups whose disposable income is limited.