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June 18, 2014

Smartphone gamers pushing mobile gaming revenue to $28.9bn

Smartphones and tablets chuck traditional handheld gamers into a niche, says report.

By Ben Sullivan

By 2016 mobile gaming will be hauling in revenue of $28.9bn, a growth of over 38% on the 2014 figure of $20.9bn, a forecast says.

Research findings said that with the increase of casual gamers playing free-to-play games on their smartphones, the approach of game developers has shifted away from bulk acquisition of unique players to a strategy of reengaging and monetising the same users, which allows for a higher overall return on investment.

Finland’s mobile gaming startup scene is a prime example of this shift in action. Over half of all existing game companies in Finland have started in the last two years, and the country’s homegrown successes such as Rovio’s Angry Birds and Supercell’s Clash of Clans are fast becoming global gaming sensations, with over two billion downloads between them.

The report also revealed that tablet users spend more money on in-game purchases on freemium games and generate more revenue per device than smartphone users due to the graphical advances of tablets shunning the necessity for a dedicated handheld gaming device.

Devices such as Sony’s PS Vita and Ninetendo’s 3DS are in a declining market, but the Juniper Research reports claims that the dedicated portable game devices will not disappear completely, but rather fall into a niche which serves a smaller, tighter gaming audience.

Software will also embrace elements of mobile games as reflected by the introduction of PlayStation Now, which lets users play games though online streaming via a per-game subscription basis.

Other findings in the report show that the emphasis in interactive gaming entertainment will be on convenience, accessibility, and online streaming. With app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store remaining the primary content delivery locations, the storefront optimisation will be moulded to personalise the discovery process for mobile gamers.

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