Mobile entertainment is proving to be a big growth category for game developers on smartphone and tablets with the latest evidence coming this week from G5 Entertainment.
The publisher of casual and social games for mobile devices just reported a five-fold increase in mobile game download in 2011. The company’s total number of game downloads recently passed 40 million.
Part of that growth has come on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. G5 Entertainment said it’s already had over a million downloads of its Kindle Fire games since the device was released last November.
The company’s broad mobile reach includes the iPhone, iPad, Android, and portable game consoles like Sony PSP and Nintendo DSi. It also publishes titles for the PC and Mac.
G5, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden (with offices in San Francisco, Moscow, and Kharkov), says it plans to release over 50 games on iOS and Android this year. Its best known game franchises include Virtual City, Supermarket Mania, Stand O'Food, and Mahjong Artifacts. G5 says it also partners with over 30 studios worldwide to bring their titles to mobile platforms.
Mobile gaming: The price is right
One of the reasons for the growing popularity of mobile games is the price -- most are free. Parks Associates research analyst Pietro Macchiarella noted in a recent report that publishers are able to offer titles for free because because of other revenue that comes in once a player is hooked.
"In-app purchases greatly expand monetization of the free-to-play model, thanks to seamless payments," said Macchiarella. "Already, most of the top grossing games on iTunes and Android can be downloaded for free and generate the majority of their revenues via virtual purchases. While mobile players are often characterized as 'casual gamers,' they spend a comparable amount of money on free-to-play titles as their peers spend on console games."