Mobile game market sales will grow to $11.7 billion by 2014, primarily due to the rapid adoption of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch as gaming platforms, DFC Intelligence said this week.
DFC also forecast that by 2014, sales of iPhone and iPod Touch games will account for 24 percent of total portable video game software sales.
"The dedicated portable game systems from companies like Nintendo and Sony are still expected to lead the market, but it appears growth for these devices has peaked," said DFC analyst David Cole. "The platforms from Apple are expected to be responsible for the bulk of market growth over the next few years."
DFC's study of 8,000 game players in North America and Europe found:
- 54 percent of North American respondents and 69 percent of European respondents played a game on their mobile phone in the past year
- 45 percent of North American and 36 percent of European respondents bought an applications for their mobile phone, with Apple's App Store the most popular service for making purchases
- 15 percent of respondents across both North America and Europe own a an iPhone or iPod Touch; 29 percent own a Nintendo DS
Greg Uhler with iPhone app provider Oceanhouse Media -- which partnered with DFC for an iPhone report -- said, "With the iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple has finally delivered mobile developers a platform with an attractive business model and a rapidly growing installed base of active consumers."
Oceanhouse Media president Michel Kripalani added that "Games are expected to account for only about 23 percent of application sales on the iPhone," and there are opportunities for developers to create non-game apps.
But there's no denying that the iPhone market is becoming increasingly crowded at a rapid pace. The number of apps on the App Store currently stands at around 85,000
, with games making up about 16,000 of those. The App Store launched in July 2008.
Kimmo Vihola, CEO of successful iPhone developer Mountain Sheep, the studio behind Minigore
, told Gamasutra earlier this month, "The App Store … sees many more new applications a day going through their pipeline. So many, in fact, that their process is starting to crack from the seams