Mobile game sales continue to show strong performance during the first quarter of 2006, with wireless consumers buying more than 8.2 million games on their phones in March, up 53 percent from 5.4 million in January 2006, according to Telephia. The number of unique mobile game buyers also jumped significantly, surging 44 percent from nearly 3.5 million in January to five million in March.
The Telephia Mobile Game Report shows that EA Mobile, I-Play, Gameloft, Namco, Hands-On Mobile, Glu Mobile, THQ Wireless, Oasys Mobile, Sony Pictures Mobile, and Mobliss were the top 10 revenue generators, accounting for 75 percent of mobile game industry revenue.
The true measure of performance for a publisher or a game title is the revenue it drives from purchases, said Kanishka Agarwal, Vice President of New Products, Telephia. Measuring the industry's performance based on downloads alone is irresponsible and misleading, especially given the extent of free trials in this rapidly growing industry.
During the first quarter of the year, nearly 12 percent of all game downloads were free, with extreme variability from one publisher to another. For example, 49 percent of Glu Mobile's downloads were free of charge, while Hands-On Mobile had less than one percent of its downloads for free, added Agarwal.
Telephia's Top Mobile Game Publishers by Revenue Share (U.S.; Q1 2006)
Glu Mobile (w/iFone)
Sony Pictures Mobile
Source: Telephia Mobile Game Report, Q1 2006
Telephia publisher rankings by share of downloads are: EA Mobile (27.4%), Namco (8%), Glu Mobile (with iFone) (7.8%), I-Play (6.9%), Gameloft (6.7%), and Hands-On Mobile (5.7%).
Top-ranked publishers based on percent of downloads with no charge are Oasys Mobile (57.0%), Glu Mobile (with iFone) (49.2%), EA Mobile (8.3%), Gameloft (4.6%), and Hands-On Mobile (0.1%).
Top-ranked mobile game titles
Telephia's Q1 2006 Mobile Game Report ranks Tetris (5.2%), Tetris Deluxe (3.6%), Bejeweled (2.6%), JAMDAT Mahjong (2.2%), and Ms. Pac-Man (2.0%) as the top five mobile game titles in terms of revenue share. Telephia is able to separate Tetris from Tetris Deluxe, two very different game titles priced very differently, due to its research methodology.
Capturing actual purchase behavior from consumer bills is essential for accurate measurement,Agarwal said. Publisher share based on survey claims of downloaded titles is very inaccurate due to limitations of survey respondent recall of details. For example, consider a game like Solitaire where there are 14 different titles from 9 different publishers in the marketplace. At best, survey respondents may be able to recall downloading Solitaire, but not the specific title or publisher. Hence, it is not possible to precisely assign a survey claim of a Solitaire download to a specific publisher, resulting in inexact publisher share numbers.
About the market research study
Telephia providers detailed mobile content audience and revenue measurement directly from the bills of an opt-in panel of nearly 35,000 mobile consumers, which sets it apart from other market research firms. As part of the Telephia Audience Metrics product suite, the Mobile Game Report provides share of revenue, share of downloads, and demographic profiling by title, genre, publisher and carrier.