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A new study by Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) into the fast moving mobile and tablet games market has highlighted the pivotal role of tablet devices in the future growth of the sector.
The rapid take-up of tablets, combined with the growing acceptance of in-game purchasing and virtual currencies will result in an estimated US$3.03 billion of sales in 2016, reaching over 10 times the $301 million figure calculated for 2012, according to the research group.
The report, which investigates the impact of mobile games on the wider video games industry, found that there had been a clear migration of users from dedicated portable gaming devices across to tablets, and to some extent, smartphones. The freemium model, which is being embraced by tablet users, cannot be implemented as easily on portable gaming devices, as games have to be purchased upfront and the devices themselves often do not allow for a 3G or 4G connection.
Increasingly, developers are using virtual currencies to monetize their handset or tablet games, rather than offering in-game items or pay-per-download titles. This can increase users’ engagement with the game, as once the virtual currency is purchased, it can only be spent within that game. Developers are now beginning to focus more on the stickiness of their game, as they realize that creating a high-quality game is not enough to guarantee a profit, according to Juniper Research.
Report author Siân Rowlands adds: When we consider that only a small amount of gamers actually make in-game purchases, and those that do typically only spend a few dollars, it becomes apparent that there are a small proportion of consumers spending thousands annually on these virtual currencies, who subsidize the game for everyone else."
Furthermore, the report went on to point out how free-to-play casino style games were beginning to see increased profits from in-app purchases, even though users are not playing for real money stakes. Games such as Slotomania, Poker by Zynga and Texas Poker were seeing a sharp increase in the number of users buying chips and other in-game items, in some instances spending as much as $100 in one transaction, to allow for a lengthy, uninterrupted gameplay session.