The North American market for mobile games is expected to rise from less than $800m in 2007 to more than $3bn by 2012, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
At present, around 18m Americans download or rent mobile games at least once per year, but these numbers are expected to increase sharply over the next five years due to factors such as improvements in the user interface, all-you-can-eat data packages and the introduction of free trial periods for subscription-based games.
According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “This ‘try before you buy’ strategy not only makes the customer more comfortable about purchasing a particular title: it also makes him or her more familiar with mobile gameplay per se and will provide further encouragement for the consumer to seek out additional titles in the future.”
The report cautions, however, that the poor marketing of mobile titles means that many customers are frequently unaware of new releases, and also recommends that publishers focus on enhancing their portfolios of “lifestyle games” as a means of expanding the mobile gaming demographic.
Other findings from the report include that the proportion of ad-funded mobile game downloads in North America will reach 30% by 2012
Despite the growth in revenues, North America will continue to trail both the China/Far East region and Western Europe over the next five years.
Also, the increasing sophistication of high-end games combined with improved form factor in handsets should enable publishers to increase retail price points.
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