Why Aren't People Buying Cell Phone Games?

The mobile game sector is doing great -- or not -- depending on whom you ask. If there's one thing industry analysts do agree on, however, it's that the business has some huge hurdles to overcome before quicker growth can occur.

The numbers tell the story.

El Segundo, Calif.-based iSupply, for instance, reports that, in 2005, there were on average six million active game purchasers in the U.S., which represents just 2.5% of wireless subscribers.

Two years later, M:Metrics in Seattle says that, last month, 3.6% of domestic mobile phone users downloaded a new game -- either to try it or buy it -- but only 2.8% actually paid for it. In other words, 97.2% of cell phone users chose not to buy a single game last month.

Indeed, six months ago, a survey by the Boston-based Yankee Group revealed that, of the 206 million mobile users in the U.S., just 140 million were aware that mobile games were available to them and of those, about 97 million had actually played any. Of those, only about nine million had ever bought one.

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