The worldwide online gaming industry will generate revenues of more than $20 billion in 2012, thanks in part to Asian Pacific markets and internet-connected devices, according to ABI Research.
In its new "Gaming in the Cloud" study, the research group says the Asian Pacific region, especially China, will drive much of this sector's growth. The firm notes significant differences between Western and Asian markets, as the latter tends to prefer free-to-play titles, which ABI says rely more on cloud or server-based games.
Analyst Michael Inouye adds that that online games in Asia need to keep in mind regulation differences, too: "In China, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere the rules are more exacting in what they allow. Some games for instance, have had to alter their content: using [World of Warcraft
] as an example, the developers had to remove the virtual blood.”
ABI also forecasts that an increasing variety of internet-connected devices, such as set-top boxes, could potentially provide new opportunities for multiplayer and MMO games. It admits, though, that online and cloud-based gaming could face challenges in the fragmented mobile gaming market and keeping up with server/data center demands.
In the same study, ABI predicts online gaming revenues will surpass $14.5 billion in 2010 and grow to $29 billion by 2015 with a 14.8 percent compound annual growth rate. Of that 2010 figure, casual gaming will account for almost $7 billion and eclipse $15 billion in five years, while MMOs will make up $7.6 billion and reach almost $14 billion by 2015.