Affiliate marketers with their eyes on mobile gaming may be noticing some interesting power shifts lately.
First, Google’s Android has become the second-most widely used mobile operating system with a 25.5 percent share, according to TechCrunch.com. That may come as a surprise to those who consider the iPhone to be completely dominant in the moble world. But Android’s open-source is proving to be a big draw for new customers.
Most of Google’s popularity surge has come from this year’s third quarter. According to PC Mag’s Chloe Albanesius, “ … 44 percent of smartphones purchased in the third quarter were Android-based, up 11 percent from the previous quarter. Apple came in second with 23 percent, up 1 percent, follwed by RIM, which declined from 28 percent to 22 percent to land in third place.”
Overall, 28 percent of mobile users have smartphones, according to Nielson. That’s similar to figures in the U.K.; other European nations like Spain and Italy have an even greater penetration at 37 and 33 percent, respectively. (In Europe, Symbian is the most popular OS.)
Apple still dominates the under- 44 demographic, however — and, since that’s the age advertisers aim for, iPhone users may remain the focus of the online gaming industry, despite Android’s recent popularity surge.
Speaking of the online casino industry, most overviews of the recently concluded Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas this week emphasized that the future of online casinos lies in mobile gaming.
“Mobile technology is truly changing the way we get information, and communicate,” Alex Kelly of interactive with International Game Technology, a company that operates Internet gaming sites in the U.K, told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “In the U.K. we are seeing staggering growth … 150 percent month to month growth online.”
Per the same article, Cantor Gaming Chief Executive Officer Lee Amaitis “expected mobile wagering to be legal within two years … We are working with regulators to show how we can make the (mobile) market safe and secure,” he said. “It’s going to happen because people want to do it.”
Kelly told the Las Vegas Review Journal that people are already betting on their mobile devices, pointing out that the U.K. was the first nation to regulate and legalize mobile gaming, back in 2005.
“Around last year, Italy, France, Spain and Australia changed their laws,” he said. “The U.K. was driving that change. People realized that the culture of their society didn’t drop out because online and mobile gaming was legalized.
“We need to figure out a way to regulate [mobile gambling] and make it safe,” Amaitis agreed. “We can learn from the U.K. how to regulate and tax mobile gambling.”
” … anyone in the industry will tell you that future success will depend on being competitive in world where online gambling is held in the palms and fingertips of gamblers, not at a computer console or land-based casino,” writes Mark McKenna at CalvinAyre.com. “People love to gamble and they love to do it with ease, iPhones satisfy this need that should almost go without saying.”
But iPhones aren’t the limit, as we see above. Developers should look to both Apple and Android operating systems to power their new online gaming mobile platforms.
In the U.S., this is all contingent on the UIGEA law changing, of course. But since much affiliate marketing is geared overseas — and because affiliate marketers are always looking to the future — it’s time to think about mobile gaming not as an if, but a when, and to prepare accordingly.
November 19, 2010