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US$1 billion in wireless game revenue by 2006
Posted on 12-Dec-2003 06:33 | Tags Filed under: News

According to IDC, wireless gaming is on its way to becoming a mass-market phenomenon in the US. Over the past year, wireless games topped the list of entertainment applications downloaded to cellular phones. IDC expects the number of wireless gamers to grow from 7.9% of all U.S. wireless subscribers in 2003 to 34.7%, or 65.2 million users, by 2008.

"In 2003, U.S. wireless carriers cleared a major hurdle in delivering wireless games to subscribers, demonstrating that wireless gaming is a viable business," said Dana Thorat, senior research analyst in IDC's Wireless and Mobile Communications service. "In the next 12 months, carriers plan to aggressively promote wireless games to their subscribers while offering new line-ups of compelling titles, including those that support multiplayer and limited 3D rendering."

Thus far, carriers have pursued mass-market strategies in targeting games to a broad spectrum of consumer demographics, and the key to wireless game success has been mostly related to strong brand and game title recognition. 2003's most popular wireless games included, Jamdat's Jamdat Bowling, Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Eidos' Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and Gamelofts' Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.

For the carriers, getting to market quickly with compelling game titles is the key to unlocking the new revenue opportunities of wireless gaming. The growth of this market will not only depend on the infusion of download-capable handsets, but also more effective merchandising, such as recommendation engines, opt-in email and five-digit short code marketing, and various upselling and cross-selling techniques using other mediums such as banner ads on online game sites.

IDC's new report, U.S. Wireless Gaming Forecast Update, 2003-2008: Mobile Users Just Wanna Have Fun (IDC #30498), examines how wireless games are set to become a flagship application in the push to get wireless entertainment services to the masses in the coming year and a stepping-stone for which carriers can migrate wireless users to data services in a non-threatening way. The report looks at business and pricing models, wireless gaming trends, customer adoption, carrier strategies, and key issues that need to be addressed. The report also contains an updated U.S. wireless gaming forecast.

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