iPhone Invigorating Mobile Game Industry

glu_iphone.jpgEA Mobile, Gameloft, Glu Mobile and THQ Wireless, otherwise known as the Big 4 of the mobile game industry, have seen their piece of the market grow significantly over the past year. The Big 4 accounted for 22% of the market at the end of last year, up from 11% at the end of 2006, according to a new report from Screen Digest.

Here’s a surprise (or not): Screen Digest expects that the iPhone will drive the growth of the North American market, raising it to the leading global market by revenue next year.

Overall, the mobile games market will grow by $1.56 billion over the next five years to become a $3.6 billion market by 2012, the report forecasts. Although Asia has historically been the largest market – it had a 37% share in 2007 – Screen Digest predicts that starting in ’09, North America will take the lead.

Even without the iPhone App Store and its hundreds of games, the North American market has seen considerable growth every year for the past four years. Now, with the iPhone 3G on the scene, Screen Digest sees this growth continuing – and escalating – enough that the North American mobile games market will be worth some $1.7 billion by 2012.