International Data Corporation (IDC) published the Worldwide Gaming-Optimized Handheld, Smartphone, and Tablet Gaming 2013–2017 Forecast, on the current state and future direction of smartphone, tablet, and gaming-optimized handheld (GOH) hardware and software. The forecast details the outlook for Apple, Google/Android, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and a wide range of game developers and publishers from a mobile and portable gaming perspective through 2017. Some key point they make are:

  • IDC research shows that the number of paying smartphone and tablet gamers will surpass the number of paying GOH gamers worldwide in 2013
  • This number will continue to rise at a rapid rate through 2017
  • The number of GOH bundles shipped should fall at an average of nearly 7% per year over the next five years
  • The installed base of GOH’s is being overwhelmed by smartphones and tablets that are used for casual gaming primarily
  •  Total mobile/portable gaming revenue, including digital and packaged game software, GOH hardware bundles, and direct advertising revenue going to platform suppliers and game developers/publishers, is forecast to approach $23 billion in 2017.

People often ask me about contracts with publishers and some of the things you might find in them. While the Activision-Bungie contract is not typical for most independent game studios, it still is worth reading to get familiar with some of the terms and clauses related to the development process, milestones, and obligations of both parties. I’m not sure how the LA Times originally got this, but since it’s on the Internet, I figured I would link to it so others can learn from it. http://documents.latimes.com/bungie-activision-contract/

According to NPD, 2012 digital game sales were:

  • U.S. -$5.9 billion (40 percent of total U.S. dollars spent on games, up from 28 percent in 2010)
  • U.K. – $1.7 billion
  • Germany – $1.4 billion
  • France – $1 billion.

For 2012, the U.S. breaks down as:

  • New retail games – $7.1 billion
  • Used games – $1.59 billion
  • Digital games and DLC -$2.22 billion
  • Game subscriptions – $1.05 billion
  • Social network games – $544 million
  • Game rentals -$198 million
  • Mobile games -$2.11 billion
  • Digital full games and DLC combined grew 33.9 percent for the year
  • Subscriptions grew 12.9 percent
  • Mobile games grew 10.4 percent
Here are some other random points and findings from the analyst panel at GDC 2013:
  • The UK has the highest percentage of console players
  • France prefers portable consoles
  • Germany prefers computers
  • US is most partial to gaming on mobile and tablet platforms
  • In the US, 27 percent of mobile gamers pay
  • In Europe, 40 percent of mobile gamers pay
  • U.K. average spending on mobile games is $16
  • U.S. average spending on mobile games is $9
  • In China, Mobile game spending is projected to reach$1 billion this year, and $2.8 billion in 2016.