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Mobile networks key to online games take-off

Mobile online gamers in Asia are rising steadily, but market development will be "fragmented" due to the state of mobile infrastructure, says new IDC report.
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Written by Vivian Yeo on

The lack, or slow development, of mobile infrastructure in some countries in Asia may have an impact on the mobile online games market, a new study by IDC has found.

The acceptance and availability of 3G and HSDPA (High-speed Downlink Packet Access) in certain countries in the Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region have yet to take off, despite many users beginning to utilize their handsets for rich multimedia experiences, noted Ang Poon Wei, IDC's market analyst for Asia-Pacific software research, in a statement Thursday. "Development of mobile online gaming in the region will remain fragmented as rich multimedia content relies a lot on the mobile infrastructure of the country," he pointed out.

Ang added: "While China and India continue to work on the provision of 3G services, the mature markets will be focusing on the available 3G services to churn out multimedia-rich content."

The analyst also told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview Friday that the lack of standard mobile platforms was another challenge for the mobile online games market. Most games currently are written in Java, he noted, but as games get more complex and more multimedia components are involved, there may be a need to look to another common standard.

Mobile online gamers to double in five years
The number of mobile online gamers in the APEJ region will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.9 percent, from 125.1 million in 2008 to 241.6 million in 2012, said Ang.

The analyst house also noted that by 2012, there will be a steady growth of mobile online gamers in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. It attributed this to the greater availability of mobile content and high speed data connection for mobile phones, as well as the stability of mobile network coverage.

According to IDC, revenues for the mobile online games market in the APEJ market last year grew 35 percent over 2006. The total number of mobile online gamers reached 97.6 million last year, with over half (51.3 percent) from China. Korea and India made up the next two largest markets, at 25.3 percent, and 11.4 percent, respectively.

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