A new report from technology advisors Gartner Inc forecasts a $74 billion spend on gaming on 2011, which will grow to $112 billion by 2015.
The $74 billion is a rise of 10.4 per cent on 2010's total of $67 billion, and two thirds of that spend will be on software.
“As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices," said principal research analyst Tuong Nguyen.
"Mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores. For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices."
The report, Market Trends: Gaming Ecosystem 2011, also predicts that in 2011 hardware will follow software in sales numbers, with online coming in last. However, online games will start to catch up over the next five years, as spending on subscriptions and microtransactions will mean a compound annual growth rate of 27 per cent through 2015.
"We find that subscription fees are giving way to ‘freemium’ models, in which the game is provided for free to gamers but is monetised through advertising (both in-game advertising and display advertising) and in-game microtransactions, such as the sale of value-added services or virtual-good purchases,” said research director Brian Blau.
“This trend is prevailing given the rise of social gaming, in which online gaming is connected to social networking sites and social networking platforms.”
Blau also emphasised the need for mobile technology to progress quickly enough to meet the needs of gamers.
The full report is available here.