Virtual Goods Net Real Dollars: The Rise of Mobile Gaming
Want vivid proof that the financial landscape that we know is changing, dramatically and forever? Feast on the extraordinary rise in spending on mobile gaming, a number analysts at ABI Research predict in a new report will hit $16 billion in 2015, up from below $5 billion in 2011.
One big factor is the proliferation of touchscreen-operated smartphones which, say the researchers, provides a fertile context for gaming on the run.
Another factor is the increasing consumer willingness to spend real money on so-called virtual goods (such as barns and crops and tractors within a farm game).
ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen commented, “An ever-larger share of mobile gaming revenue is coming from virtual goods and other purchases that take place within the game. These in-app payments will account for about one-third of the 2011 revenue base, but by the end of 2016 their share will increase to almost half of the total. Also, the in-game advertising revenue will increase considerably, as more and more advertisers take advantage of mobile games’ mass-media potential.”
Similar numbers have been published by research firm Gartner which, in a recent report, pegged the size of the online games business at $1.9 billion in 2011. Gartner elaborated that online gaming would grow very fast over the next few years as more consumers embraced smartphones but also tablet computers – such as the iPad and BlackBerry’s PlayBook – which offer favorable playgrounds for gamers.