Just how much is mobile gaming worth? Would you believe $10 billion?

We don't normally do stories about jargon-ey industry numbers and statistics, but when you see something about 10 billion dollars, you have to at least take a peek. That's what the mobile gaming industry is expected to rake in by 2014. Not bad for a market that just a few years ago was about as niche as you could be.

In fact, this year alone, the iPhone is expected to rake in more than $1.7 billion in app sales. That's three times more than what Android is expected to bring in, even though there are more Android phones in the US.

Above: Better get those fingers more nimble than ever, because iPhone/mobile gaming is the new black

This is all according to Futuresource Consulting, an analyst group specializing in the mobile industry. Just to provide some context for how much money $10 billion is - that's about one-fourth of the 2009 revenue of the entire video game industry. The video game industry has risen over a span of more than 30 years, but most people had never even thought of buying a game on their mobile phone more than five years ago.

The highest area of growth in mobile is expected to be "freemium" games, or games that are free to download but coerce players into buying additional content once they've been sucked in. We personally hate that word - just as much as we hate refudiate and simplexity - but it's gonna start dominating the lexicon pretty soon.

Futuresource also expects to see a big rise in the number of ad-funded games. So start marking your calendars for when you'll start seeing Best Buy, Colgate, and Tide iPhone games. You know it's coming.

So what does all this mean to you? Well, first off, if you don't have a smartphone, you're totally living in the past, maaan. I mean, seriously. Secondly, expect the iPhone and others to continue to get more attention from the big publishers. Casual games will grow to an even bigger industry, but we hope with more sophisticated phones and more hardcore gamers going mobile, we can get some serious titles for our iPhones too.

Oct 26, 2010

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  • Spybreak8 - October 28, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    "Well, first off, if you don't have a smartphone, you're totally living in the past, maaan. I mean, seriously." Haha yeah that's me but I'm not tied to a freakin contract or a monthly bill (trac-phone). More money saved to pay for my gaming habit, heyooo!
  • n00b - October 27, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    and still no buttons
  • D0CCON - October 27, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    I found out I'm getting an Ipod touch this Christmas and after looking at the apps, there are some interesting ones (Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus, it's hardcore and the controls and multiplayer actually look good!). The majority of the stuff I plan on getting is free, but considering so much of this stuff costs 99 cents, it can easily pull people in. This does not surprise me at all.
  • pollenski - October 27, 2010 4:29 a.m.

    One fourth of the 2009 revenue or one quarter?
  • LordKreeka - October 27, 2010 12:10 a.m.

    Think about how many children could be fed with that 10 billion dollars... But even more importantly... Think about how many sequals could be made with that 10 billion dollars...
  • MyNameIsMyName - October 26, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    I don't get why people play games on their phones, doesn't that severely drain the battery? I'm only 19 but I guess I'm old fashioned since I use my non 3G(but excellent reception)cell phone only for important phone calls or calling stuff in. I just don't see where that revenue comes from 2014 isn't that far away so I suppose handhelds are bringing around 8 million this year give or take right?
  • TylerWildesBloodAlcoholLevelIsTooDAMNHigh - October 26, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    This reiterates the fact that micro transactions blossom into sweet sweet revenue so fantastically that it will only grow more prevalent as pockets tighten and the budget for $30-$60 games dwindle.
  • erreip199 - October 26, 2010 11:01 p.m.


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