Touchscreen handset could have a potentially revolutionary impact on mobile gaming, according to a report by Screen Digest.
In particular, Apple’s iPhone 3G is expected to drive the growth of the North American market raising it to the leading global market by revenue next year.
The media analyst’s study says that the world’s top four games publishers are taking an ever bigger share of the market for mobile games.
EA Mobile, Gameloft, Glu and THQ Wireless have seen their global market shares increase from 11 per cent to 22 per cent in 2007 and the figure is rising, particularly in Western Europe.
From the perspective of both games developers and mobile users, touchscreen phoness have the potential to be the number one device for mobile gaming.
The Screen Digest report says this is supported by recently released retail sales figures that show 10 million applications were downloaded from the Apple online store in the three days after the iPhone 3G went on sale on July 11.
However, it cautions that the handset presents technical challenges for developers, limiting the sophistication of the games on offer which in turn restricts audience retention.
Ronan de Renesse, senior mobile analyst, said:
Screen Digest anticipates that the mobile games market will generate an extra US€1bn in the next five years to reach a total value of US€2.6bn by 2012.
Historically, Asia has been the biggest market in terms of industry revenues with over 37 per cent market share in 2007, but Screen Digest predicts that from 2009 onwards, North America will become the largest market.
North America has been experiencing continued growth, generating an average of US€125m every year for the past four years.
The report forecasts this this revenue growth to continue and double the market value to just over US€1.1bn by 2012.