IDC Says Subscription-based Purchases of Wireless Games Will Gain Ground by 2010
Mobile gaming for wireless devices is providing new revenue opportunities for game developers, network operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, and other players in the value chain. At the close of 2006, the mobile gaming market is taking on a new dimension, literally, as it explores three dimensional (3D) games and all of the accompanying hardware and software requirements. Improved handset technology, flexible billing mechanisms, and the availability of wireless broadband (3G) networks is helping to improve the mobile gaming experience, enticing more consumers to jump on board. According to IDC, mobile game purchasers will grow more than 16% annually reaching nearly 50 million customers by 2010, which will substantially increase total mobile gaming revenue by the end of the decade.
A recent IDC survey shows that 11% of respondents purchased at least one game for their wireless device in the third quarter of 2006. Teens and adults under 24 years of age made up the core of this gaming constituency. For 3Q06, IDC survey respondents reported spending an average of $13.00 on wireless games, with reported spending inversely correlated with the purchaser’s age. IDC predicts that the price per mobile game will rise more than $2.50 by 2010 due in part to the impact of growing subscription revenues.
According to this survey, more than three quarters of all games being purchased by respondents as of 3Q06 were based on a one-time unlimited use model. IDC says one-time purchased games is the largest category and will remain that way over the next four years. However, IDC models suggest that subscription-based channels will gain traction and represent a third of total revenue by the end of the decade.
“Flexible discovery and billing mechanisms are emerging trends making mobile game purchases easier and more attractive to consumers,” says Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC’s Mobile Consumer Services: Entertainment service. “Game bundles, flat subscription fees that include access to multiple games, weekly game rentals, pay-per-play and other models today compliment the standard one-time purchasing model or single-game monthly subscription model.”
This study, U.S. Wireless Gaming 2006-2010 Forecast (IDC #204719), provides an analysis and five-year forecast of the U.S. wireless gaming market. The study provides a discussion of market dynamics, including changes and opportunities for carriers, and to a lesser extent, publishers, handset OEMs, and supply chain technology and service providers. The strategies of major wireless network operators including Cingular, Sprint-Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are analyzed.
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