Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on East-West Digital News, a leading English-language resource on Russian digital industries and related venture activity.
According to Moscow, Russia-based consultancy firm J’son & Partners, the mobile game market in Russia will grow from $392 million in 2012 to an estimated $707 million in 2016.
The number of mobile game players is also expected to increase from 38.6 million at the end of 2012 to 65.1 million in 2016.
This is almost 4 percent of the global market, estimated at $9.9 billion for more than 1 billion gamers worldwide in 2012.
The mobile game market: Russian and global trends
Market size estimates in million USD – Source: J’son & Partners
In the years to come, market growth should be facilitated by the development of the country’s 3G and 4G networks, the growing popularity of smartphones, and more experienced game developers and publishers.
The Russian mobile game industry is going through profound changes.
While in 2010, most games were developed in Java for standard mobile phones, smartphones have changed the game since then, with Java-based games representing less than 50 percent of today’s market and set to almost disappear in the coming years.
In this highly competitive market, marketing budgets are more and more significant. Publishers tend to develop collaborative partnerships with social networks and launch unusual promotions.
In an increasing number of cases, specific versions are being created and optimized for different app stores.
From Russia with games
While international games may enjoy strong popularity in Russia – as exemplified by Angry Birds, which topped the country’s rankings until the beginning of this year – Russian game publishers are beginning to assert themselves on the global market.
Among these emerging players are such traditional mobile content companies as Dynamic Pixels, Herocraft and i-Free. Game Insight, which originally focused on social games, now operates more than 10 mobile game development studios in several countries. Last month the company raised $25 million in equity investment to expand to emerging markets.
Founded in Moscow in 2005 as a mobile development studio, G5 Entertainment now develops mobile and PC games on a massive scale. The company is listed on the Aktie Torget equity marketplace in Stockholm and operates from Moscow, Stockholm, San Francisco, and Ukraine.
The game has been dowloaded more than 250 million times since its launch in 2010, according to the company.
A number of much smaller developers are also making their way onto the market. Moscow programmer Maxim Petrov has built a flourishing business with Power Amp, which has been praised as one of the best available media players on the Android market.
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