SOURCE: M:Metrics

March 06, 2006 08:00 ET

M:Metrics: Games Consumption Holds Steady at 6 Million

Sector Challenged to Broaden Appeal and Provide Rationale to Sustain Subscriptions

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 6, 2006 -- M:Metrics, the mobile market authority, has found that as the prices and selection of mobile games climb, consumption has remained consistent, with between 5 and 6 million mobile subscribers downloading at least one mobile game per month, over the past year.

The firm found that carriers have increased their game portfolios significantly since September. National carriers have added on average of about 59 titles to the storefront on the leading devices used to download content over a five-month period since September 2005. Yet, despite a broader selection of game titles, consumers' appetites for them are largely unchanged.

"Our data shows that more games do not yield more gamers," observed Seamus McAteer, chief product architect and senior analyst, M:Metrics. "In fact, an examination of the title mix across competing carriers reinforces the lack of any correlation. It is apparent that other factors, such as subscriber demographics and pricing, play a bigger role."

                       September   October  November  December   January
                         ------    ------    ------    ------    ------
Average Number of
 Game Titles On
 Carrier Deck             296.2     308.6     318.8     339.4     354.8

Average Price              5.59      5.64      5.71      5.74      5.77

Average Subscription
 Price                     2.76      2.80      2.88      2.88      2.90

Subscribers who played
 a downloaded mobile
 game in month (000s)    14,040    13,652    15,101    16,238    15,689

Subscribers who
 downloaded a mobile
 game in month (000s)     5,315     5,331     6,313     6,445     5,229
As title counts climbed, so did the price of mobile games. M:Metrics found that the price of games increased steadily over the period. In the four months since September, prices for one-time downloads have increased by three percent while prices for subscriptions have increased by a whopping 22 percent.

"As all carriers more aggressively promote subscription-based models, they are also testing price inelasticity by gradually inching up average pricing," said McAteer. "To grow the market, carriers must work in tandem with publishers to provide real value for a more expensive subscription, rather than treating it as just another pricing tactic."

Males younger than 25 are the predominant consumers of mobile games, accounting for 29.9 percent of the market, making this demographic group more than twice as likely to download a mobile game compared with the market overall. Motorola's RAZR emerged as the most popular gaming handset, with 305,588 mobile gamers reporting they downloaded a game onto the device in the quarter ended January 2006.

M:Metrics measures the consumption of mobile content and applications and benchmarks the performance of mobile operators, device manufacturers, platform providers and publishers using a multi-dimensional methodology that includes the largest monthly surveys of mobile subscribers in the U.S, the U.K. and Germany. The following are the results of its U.S. Benchmark Survey for the quarter ending January 31, 2006.

U.S.Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: January 2006

                     Projected      Percent U.S.
                       Monthly         Mobile        Percent
Activity             Reach (000s)    Subscribers      Change
                        ------         ------         ------
Sent Text Message       62,421          34.1%          +2.4%

Retrieved News and
 Information            19,008          10.4%          +2.3%

Purchased Ringtone      18,372          10.0%          +3.9%

Used Photo Messaging    17,971           9.8%          +5.7%

Used Personal E-mail    14,026           7.7%          +4.3%

Used Mobile Instant
 Messenger              11,979           6.5%          +3.6%

Used Work E-mail         8,479           4.6%          +7.5%

Purchased Wallpaper or
 Screensaver             7,372           4.0%          +2.7%

Downloaded Mobile Game   6,006           3.3%         (-0.7%)

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2006.  Survey of U.S. mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
January 31, 2006, n= 35,649
About M:Metrics

M:Metrics is the mobile market measurement authority. As the only research firm to measure the audience for mobile media, M:Metrics provides the most accurate metrics on actual mobile content consumption by applying trusted media measurement methodologies to the mobile market. M:Metrics' monthly syndicated data service gives clients the critical insights and intelligence required to inform smart business strategies and the competitive benchmarks needed to evaluate the performance of competitors and partners. M:Metrics is a private, venture-funded corporation headquartered in Seattle, with offices in San Francisco and London.

About M:Metrics Data

Based on continually refreshed samples of nationally representative mobile phone consumers, M:Metrics reports summarise market size, device reach, and key demographic and mobile phone usage characteristics.

The data presented here is drawn from an extensive survey questionnaire that collects specific device model and carrier subscription information from each month's sample of mobile phone subscribers, and also drills down into specific details related to current and past usage of various mobile phone applications and content. Data collected from each sample are statistically balanced and projected to the total national population of mobile phone subscribers.

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