Friday, October 17, 2008

In-Stat: US Mobile Gaming Industry Reaches Billion Dollar Level

This is great new for us mobile and iPhone users who are now wasting away with Spore, Sudoku, or the plethora of $0.99 games on the iPhone app store.  Soon to join iTunes will be Android Marketplace, Blackberry, T-Mobile, and more.

And this billion dollar figure is just in the United States.  Furthermore, this goes to the heart of the matter regarding the effect of mobile devices with significant computing power for work and entertainment.  However, In-Stat warned there are great challenges the industry must confront that may slow growth in the future.

  • Lack of industry standardization.
  • Availability of handsets
  • Wide variety of mobile OS.
For the most part, I disagree with the part of standardization and the choices of operating systems.  Going forward, mobile users will have to choose.  And that is the most significant factor that will drive mobile gaming growth.  You guess it, competition.  I find that more likely to drive growth than having the gaming industry coalesce around a set of rules governing gaming. This is not the same as Wi-Fi or Web standards where the respective industries need to work together to avoid confusing consumers.

After all, there are many video formats and growth is not necessarily an issue.  So, in the gaming industry, let there be choice and competition.  I only need to point to the portable gaming industry to show that slowing DS and PSP sales are the results of their respective companies not offering enough hardware and software changes.  Just this year, Sony with the new PSP and, more recently, Nintendo with DSi should drive more unit sales, hence, more software as well.

Still, $1 billion is significant.  Let's see where it is 6 months to a year from now when more app stores are online serving hundreds of millions of smartphone and mobile device owners.

Here are other notes of interest from the study:

  • Almost 20% of game-playing respondents to an In-Stat consumer survey report downloading games from Internet sites other than their mobile carrier’s site.
  • Of the 2,000 respondents, 29.5% reported playing games on their mobile handsets.
  • In-Stat predicts the global mobile gaming market will top $6.8 billion by 2013.

2013.  About 4 years from now.  Don't be surprised to see the actual number in 2013 top the $6.8 billion figure.  

Note:  I wonder if In-Stat took factored in increasing 3G and WiMax adoptions, as well as the deployment of LTE devices.  Wireless broadband will have an influence on mobile gaming.  Just as folks are playing games like SIM or fighting Orcs in VR worlds, social-oriented games should drive additional users into mobile gaming.  Already, such games, though still in its infancy, are beginning to appear on Blackberry and the iPhone.

Source:  Macsimum News, In-Stat (Full report will cost $2,495 USD)

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