New research from Gartner says world revenue from mobile gaming is expected to exceed $5.6 billion this year. That's a 19% increase from last year's total of $4.7 billion. Growth is expected to continue for the next few years; in 2014 the market is projected to have reached $11.4 billion.
Gartner estimates 70% – 80% of all mobile consumer applications downloaded are mobile games, although 60% to 70% of these downloaded games are free.
Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, said "The hype around mobile application stores has opened this market up to numerous publishers and developers — further expanding revenue potential and competition in this industry. Although we expect most mobile gamers to continue to gravitate toward 'free' games, we do not expect the ad-supported model to take off within the next three years — despite the success we have seen with this approach in the Japanese market."
The company says other factors boosting the popularity of mobile gaming include the increasing accessibility of mobile games in emerging markets, where alternative gaming media are limited, along with the growing availability of micropayments for mobile gamers.