New platforms such as Apple's iPhone, Nokia's N-Gage and Google's Android will galvanize the growth of the mobile gaming market, according to media research firm Screen Digest.
Apple alone accounted for $100 million in gaming revenues in the second half of 2008, translating to 10% of the North American mobile games segment, Screen Digest said in a report.
While the operator-distributed mobile games market increased more than 50% in 2004 and 2005, growth will fall to just 7% in 2009.
The report contends that new smartphone platforms will pick up the slack, although games for new platforms represented only 15% of mobile games revenues in North America and Europe during 2008.
Screen Digest cites Apple's combination of appealing hardware, large developer community and easy-to-use retail environment as the keys to its lead in the mobile gaming sector.
And for major publishers, the greatest impact of the iPhone and App Store is not the additional revenues generated via game sales but rather the overall effect of the App Store's business model on the wider mobile games market.
Screen Digest credits the App Store for increasing awareness of mobile games and for persuading some network operators to lower their revenue shares and build their own application stores.
“While the market for mobile games on the App Store is strong, iPhone users still only account for a tiny proportion of the market. In Q4 2008, iPhone shipments made up less than 2% of total handset shipments.
“Handset manufacturers and network operators currently adopt a ‘one store for all' approach although platform-specific and on-device stores stand the best chance of success, as far as mobile games are concerned.”
For more on the mobile gaming report:
- read this release