Nearly everyone has a smartphone, but not everyone has a game console.
That trend may be what’s driving this year’s tipping point in the games industry, in which mobile gaming revenues are expected to surpass console gaming sales for the first time ever, according to Digi-Capital’s Games Report released today.
With annual growth rates of 15 percent, worldwide mobile gaming revenues are expected to continue fueling the industry for the next three years. In 2015, mobile games revenue are forecasted to hit $29 billion in 2015 and $45 billion by 2018.
The report goes on to predict that the overall games software market will grow from $88 billion in 2015 to $110 billion by 2018, achieving a more modest growth rate of 8 percent annually.
“Where mobile games will take $3 of every $10 spent by gamers on software in 2015, that figure will go up to $4 out of every $10 by 2018,” said Tim Merel, managing partner of Digi-Capital, a management consulting firm.
Merel said it is important to note that mobile games revenue will not exceed sales from console hardware and software combined this year, or by the year 2018. However, mobile revenues are also on track to surpass revenues from online games this year.
To be sure, while mobile gaming revenues have been on the rise for quite some time, the day the sector leapfrogs console game revenues a significant one. While many console games can cost upwards of $60, most mobile games are inexpensive or free. Most revenues come from charging nominal amounts for game enhancements, like additional lives, levels or features.