Analyst cites in-app payments as driver of â??$10 billion mobile marketâ??

Android games â??rapidly gaining app market shareâ??

Google’s Android mobile operating system is picking up a healthier portion of the mobile apps market, and is helping drive the whole sector towards a $10 billion value milestone, new data suggests.

Futuresource Consulting, which has made the prediction, believes smartphone usage will grow by 50 per cent this year alone and reach 270 million units sold worldwide.

The analyst group says the new surge in mobile sales is driven by increased availability of devices, also in new territories, as well as strong sales of Apple iPhones.

More recently, the group says, the market has been bolstered by a growing demand for Android smartphones.

“Google’s mobile platform is rapidly gaining a share of the apps market, as more games developers and publishers begin to migrate across,” the report claims.

iPhone App Store sales alone, the firm said, will help generate some $1.7 billion in global games revenues, which accounts for almost 30 per cent of the total mobile gaming market.

By comparison Android game apps represent ten per cent of the market today, with “traditional mobile games” still taking a 60 per cent lion’s share.

“There is no doubt that paid-for apps games are leading the gaming charge,” says Patrik Pfandler, a mobile analyst at Futuresource.

“Our forecasts show apps-based gaming will account for more than 95 per cent of total mobile gaming revenues by 2014 –that’s despite the glut of free apps games out there,” he added.

“The growth of in-apps payments is a key ingredient in the commercial success of apps gaming. In the short term we’ll see the rise of the ‘freemium’ business model, where the game is downloaded for free, but incorporates micro-transactions and virtual currencies, encouraging users to unlock additional features, new levels and premium content. In the longer run, we’re going to see ad-funded apps games start to gain more traction as well.”

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