The US market for mobile games will rise from less than $800m in 2007 to more than $3bn by 2012, according to analysts.
A report from Juniper Research suggests that around 18 million Americans download or rent mobile games at least once a year, and that this number is expected to increase sharply over the next five years.
Juniper attributes the rise to the introduction of free trial periods for subscription-based games, as well as improvements in the user interface of mobile phones and all-you-can-eat data packages.
"This 'try before you buy' strategy makes the customer more comfortable about purchasing a particular title," said Dr Windsor Holden, the report's author.
"But it also makes the customer more familiar with mobile gameplay and will provide further encouragement to seek out additional titles in the future."
The research also predicts that around 30 per cent of mobile game downloads in the US will be ad-funded by 2012, and that the increasing sophistication of high-end games combined with improved form factor in handsets should enable publishers to increase retail price points.
However, growth in the US will still lag behind China, the Far East and Western Europe over the next five years.
The report also warned that the poor marketing of mobile titles means that many customers are frequently unaware of new releases.
Juniper urges publishers to focus on enhancing their portfolios of 'lifestyle games' as a means of expanding the mobile gaming demographic.
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