Mobile games are the fastest growing segment of the video game market as game-playing on mobile devices has become a major activity of Internet users worldwide, slightly ahead of online gaming on PC. Game-playing on mobile device is forecasted to outpace the total online gaming market in terms of growth, increasing by around 20% annually.
Practices and trends in mobile gaming vary by world region.
In the advanced online gaming market of the USA, mobile gaming was spreading in 2013 in terms of popularity, and this trend is expected to persist. Mobile games remained the largest segment in terms of revenue, accounting for around a quarter of the total market.
In Latin America last year, Brazil was by far the largest online gaming market and is forecasted to grow with annual rates of over 20% in the next few years as growth of the Internet and smartphone audience boost the mobile games market. Over half of Internet users in Brazil now play online games, with the largest segment of gamers using mobile devices. In Mexico also most video game aficionados play through a mobile device.
In Europe the trend to mobile is apparent also. In the UK, nearly 20% of the population use the Internet to play video games and the game market there has further growth potential because of the mobile trend. Tablets were the first choice of over a third of mobile device owners to play games in 2013 in the UK, while half of all tablet owners played games. In Germany, consoles and PC are still popular for gaming, but mobile platforms are gaining importance in number of users and time of play, as well as increasing revenues, as mobile devices are making the largest contribution to sales growth. In France, Belgium, Italy Poland and Spain the console and PC were still used by more than half of gamers in 2013, but the mobile gaming is expected to take the lead in the next couple of years.
In Russia, the online gaming market is booming, with further growth expected from the mobile platforms. The number of mobile gamers in Russia is forecasted to increase annually to reach over 60 million in 2016.
The Asian region has the highest number of game players on the globe. In Japan, mobile gaming revenues on smartphones grew five-fold in the last two years, reaching a small one-digit sum in EUR billions. In China, regulation plays an important role in the fast growing gaming industry, which favors local game publishers. Several hundreds of million people play mobile games, with the number growing every year. The share of mobile games on total online gaming revenues is expected to increase significantly in the next four years. In South Korea, mobile gaming is a pronounced trend, led by a messaging app which transformed into a popular gaming platform. Mobile is forecasted to be the fastest growing segment in the gaming industry in India also through the next few years, with revenues approaching that of console.
In the Middle East and Africa, the trend to mobile speeds also. For example, over 10% of mobile users in the UAE download games on mobile. In South Africa mobile gaming outperforms PC online gaming by far, with the revenues differing by several times. In other African countries, such as Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal, mobile gaming is also gaining popularity, with an increasing share of Internet users engaging in this activity on their mobile devices.
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