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Mobile gaming market to reach $18B by 2014: Study

Due to the growing number of wireless subscribers in emerging markets, the mobile gaming market is predicted to reach $18 billion by 2014, according to a study by Pyramid Research.

The predicted $18 billion in growth represents a 16.6 percent growth rate according to Pyramid's study titled, "Mobile Gaming in Emerging Markets: Five Year Forecast and Impact Analysis." The study takes the growth of emerging markets and puts it into context with the mobile gaming industry as a whole.

"The key findings in this report are the continued good prospects for the industry driven by App Store business models in the developed world, while increasing mobile penetration and a variety of business models are supporting growth in emerging markets," said Jan ten Sythoff, manager of mobile content at Pyramid Research, London.

Pyramid's research indicates that the promising growth of mobile gaming can be attributed to the increasing penetration of mobile service and handsets in both the developed and developing worlds.

The study focused in on eight of the most promising emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia and South Africa.

In 2008, global mobile gaming revenue reached $6.9 billion, showing a stable and impressive growth alongside that of evolving emerging markets.

The increased rate of mobile adoption in the recent months and years will have a staggering effect on the mobile gaming arena, where Pyramid expects a 16.6 percent growth rate annually.

This projected growth may mean larger-than-life opportunities for mobile marketers to get a stake in the reported $18 billion that will be available in 2014.

"Using mobile games for advertising and marketing is an interesting opportunity," Mr. Sythoff said. "This can happen in a variety of ways, such as customizing a game for a brand or product, which is costly but can be effective.

"Advergaming, where games are downloaded for free, but the user sees ads before and after the game is started, tend to be more affordable, but are not so effective," he said. "It is crucial that the campaign is targeted, otherwise the impact is limited."

Pyramid claims that while emerging markets do not always have the means to afford sophisticated devices, trends suggest that they are eager to experiment with mobile data services concerning both communication and entertainment.

Regarding entertainment data services, mobile gaming is one of the highest driving forces.

The study shows that rapidly declining data service and handset prices are feeding the mobile gaming industry, along with the unavailability of PC's and gaming consoles.

Emerging markets rely on mobile for most, if not all, of their Web-related activities.

Pyramid credits the Apple App Store with the increased usage in developed markets, as it stimulates competition and grows consumer interest in mobile games.

"In emerging markets, the mobile handset is becoming an increasingly important device for a variety of applications," Mr. Sythoff said.

"Information, entertainment and communication can all be accessed through a mobile handset, where the alternatives are simply too expensive or not available," he said.