Friday, January 30, 2009

Mobile Gaming on the Upswing

If you're in the mobile games business, couple of good news stories out today from measurement firm comScore and mobile game developer Gameloft:

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), reports that the number of mobile game downloaders grew 17% from November 2007 to November 2008, when 8.5 million people, or 3.8% of mobile subscribers, downloaded a game to their mobile device.

"The rapid growth in smartphone adoption in the United States has provided a boost for mobile gaming, as 34% of those downloading a game in November did so using a smartphone," said Mark Donovan, senior analyst, comScore. "Last year, not one smartphone appeared in the top 10 devices used for mobile downloads. This year, six out of 10 are smartphones, excluding devices with smartphone-like functionality, such as the Instinct and Voyager, which also make appearances."

The iPhone and BlackBerry Curve have replaced the RAZR and low-end flip phones as the most popular gaming platforms, according to comScore. In fact, the number of smartphone owners downloading a game nearly tripled, while dipping 14% among owners of feature phones. iPhone owners accounted for 14% of mobile game downloaders in November, with 32.4% of all iPhone users reporting they downloaded a game in the month, compared with a market average of 3.8%.

Gameloft reported it achieved sales of 110.3 million euros (US$143 million) in 2008, an increase of 15% over 2007 (20% on a comparable exchange rate basis). The biggest increase came in the fourth quarter, which saw a 31% year-on-year increase in sales.

Mobile games “sales increased by 18% (20% at constant exchange rates) over Quarter 4, owing in part to the resounding performance of Gameloft games on Apple’s iPhone”.

Europe remained Gameloft’s biggest market with 43% of 2008 sales, followed by North America at 30% and the rest of the world at 27%—sales rose in all regions but the rest of the world grew by 43%.

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