Electronic Arts revealed that its mobile game sales revenues have eclipsed its other platform businesses for the first time -- net mobile revenues for Q3 hit $59 million. While EA didn't break this figure out by platform, it is pretty clear that games for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad have become a huge business, a business that's driving a rapid evolution in terms of quality and game play.
Tear yourself away from the newly-released Dead Space game (above), and think about the impact of these things on the games industry. 57 million people across the main European countries are playing mobile games (from all platforms) - nearly a quarter of mobile users. And that's growing at 51% a year. Competitors are taking Apple's [AAPL] play at the games market very, very seriously.
Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime, last year called Apple's iOS a "bigger threat than the Xbox". Sony is paying attention, too: it recently announced the PlayStation Suite, which will bring a range of titles (including some classic PS One games) to Android first -- and iOS in future.
iPad changes gaming all over again
This is no surprise -- especially as the iPad has changed iPhone gaming all over again. iPad users will play the same game for three times as long as an iPhone user, according to Mobiclix. Gameloft this week confirmed a 63% rise in iOS revenues during 2010.
IDC in December forecast annual App downloads will climb from 10.9 billion in 2010 to nearly 76.9 billion in 2014. Scott Ellison, VP, Mobile and Connected Consumer Platforms at IDC said, "The extension of mobile apps to every aspect of our personal and business lives will be one of the hallmarks of the new decade with enormous opportunities for virtually every business sector."
Games are just the thin end of the wedge. The power of the technology continues to advance and the potential of mobile -- led by iOS -- as a gaming platform is evolving at least as fast. This stuff matters: Morgan Stanley analyst Kathy Huberty believes Apple may shift 100 million iPhones and 40 million iPads this year. And that's without the potential 30 million iPod touch sales. (I believe these to be conservative predictions).