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The digital games market, which includes downloadable games on PCs and game consoles, mobile games, social games and free online games, grew 39% between January 2012 and January 2013, according to online gaming research company SuperData Research. SuperData pegged the digital games market at $960 million at the beginning of this year, up from $691 million in January 2012.
Although social gaming tends to get a lot of hype, SuperData’s findings indicate that social games are reaching a level of maturity, and therefore the numbers for monthly unique users are falling.
Mobile gaming, on the other hand, continues to convert customers at impressive rates. Perhaps due to the high number of mobile devices given as gifts during the holiday season, mobile gaming conversion rates reached 5.16% in January 2013 across genres, SuperData Research reported. To put that into perspective, the average conversion rate across social games reached 2.1% in January, which actually represented a gain since the fall of 2012.
While PC- and game console-downloaded games still generate a fair share of digital gaming revenue, it’s likely that mobile will take the dominant lead in coming years. According to eMarketer, the number of US mobile gamers eclipsed other gaming categories in 2012. And that number is expected to rise to 121 million in 2013, before then reaching 141 million by 2014. That 20-million climb makes the mobile category the fastest growing of any of the digital gaming categories.
Opportunities for marketers are varied in the digital gaming space. Although the US mobile gaming market is growing quickly, social gaming and casual online gaming are still ripe for marketer participation. eMarketer estimates that ad support for mobile gaming will rise quickly. Whereas revenue for mobile games will continue to come mostly from downloads and in-game purchases, advertising support is also expected to expand.
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