3D and multiplayer games may grab the games technology headlines, but it is mass market casual games that will drive market growth over the next three years - and as a ressult, Canadian carriers are looking very closely at the global mobile games market.
According to industry analysis firm Juniper Research, the trend will be driven by:
- Continued growth in mobile subscriber numbers- Increased pace of 3G service roll out- Changing demographics- Falling games prices- A new generation of "made for mobile" games
As just one example, Rogers Communications has recently added four new 2D and 3D mobile game titles offerings to its network. The titles are from Superscape Group, a leading UK-based gamiong developer.
Four Superscape mobile games are now available for consumers to download from Rogers, including Paintball Challenge, allowing players to set up traps and splatter their opponents; Andretti Racing 2D and 3D, starring the celebrated Mario Andretti and his F1 car; and Top Spin 2 Tennis 2D, in which global rankings are earned online.
Superscape was among the very first companies in the world to develop and launch international standard (JSR 184) compliant solutions for the delivery of innovative games on mass-market handsets.
In addition to the traditional core 12-25 age male electronic games players, older players and female players are becoming increasingly influential. The first generation of electronic games playing kids are now in their middle ages and many are looking for ways to continue to play games suited to their hectic lifestyles. Female games players are also emerging as a powerful market force, as more and more games designed with the female psyche in mind are brought to the market.
Juniper Research estimates that global revenues for mobile games will grow from $3 B in 2006 to $10.5 B in 2009. Looking further into the future, continued growth of mobile subscribers in developing markets and a continuation of the demographic shift will propel the global mobile games market to annual revenues of $17.6 B. This will produce a cumulative revenue stream of nearly $57 B over the six years. The Asia Pacific region has dominated the market since its inception, with the Japanese and South Korean markets in the vanguard. Asia Pacific is forecast to contribute 38% of cumulative revenues 2006 to 2011, Europe 31% and North America 22%.
Bruce Gibson, Research Director at Juniper Research says, "I think mobile games have come of age. They are no longer the poor relations of console and PC games. They are a different family of entertainment products with its own family characteristics. The casual games sector is going to be the market driver, even though it may not be at the leading edge of mobile games technology. Casual games make most use of the inherent advantages of the mobile platform. People want to fill "dead time" with easy to use, but fun games. This is the same in just about every culture."
" A lot of market and media focus is currently on mobile music and TV. However Juniper believes that over the next three to five years mobile games offer almost as much revenue earning potential for service providers as mobile music and mobile TV," he added.