'Explosion' in mobile gaming set to continue in 2013

Angry Birds & Black Ops 2
Angry Birds Space and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 have both been huge hits

The rise in smartphone and tablet gaming will continue in 2013, according to figures seen by Newsbeat.

Industry analysts IHS Screen Digest think nearly £300 million will be spent on mobile games in the UK this year, up from just £100m three years ago.

It is still significantly less than the £743m expected to be spent on console games but the gap is narrowing.

Nine out of 10 apps are free to download but 'freemium' games, offering in-app purchases, are now more common.

'Mobile future'

Newsbeat visited the world's biggest mobile phone show, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, to see how mobile gaming is developing.

Firms were keen to show off how their phones and tablets could connect to modern televisions.

That could mean playing a game on your phone, with the graphics and sound beamed wirelessly to your TV.

John Kopp was at the show for gaming firm Game Insight and says the industry has "exploded".

However, he doesn't think the console is dead quite yet.

"I hope not," he said. "But at the same time I can absolutely see [mobile] is the future.

"You're looking at an entire generation of children who will grow up not knowing what it was like, not to have a touch screen."

The success of mobile gaming is already having an impact on consoles.

The control pad for Nintendo's Wii U console has a video screen which works on its own and Sony says gamers will be able to use their phones and tablets as a "second screen" with PlayStation 4.

Newsbeat spoke to gamers in Brixton in South London.

Jasmine Fergus, 21, and Ben Smalley, 22

Jasmine and Ben

Jasmine is more of a mobile gamer but doesn't mind a bit of Call of Duty.

Ben's phone isn't up to playing games and the Fifa addict is happier on his console anyway.

"I just don't see the point. I don't think I'd ever play a game on my mobile. You want to be around a console with all your mates don't you?"

But he agrees people are buying fewer games nowadays.

"Pretty much everyone I know, the only games they buy are CoD and Fifa."

Annis el Marzak and Alex Peddar, both 25

Annis and Alex

Annis and Alex both used to work in video game stores but aren't surprised by the rise in mobile gaming.

"It's accessible and it's there in front of you, and it only costs 69p", said Alex.

"Plus you've already got the phone, which you didn't have to pay for because it's on contract."

They're expecting Apple to make a move into home gaming soon, building on the success of the App store but say they'll probably still buy a PS4.

Kim Johnson and Skye Bryan, both 17

Kim and Skye

Kim says consoles can't compete with mobiles on price.

She said: "You can get apps for free and games are too expensive nowadays.

"I use my brother's console. He's still buying games but not as many as before."

Skye says she gets frustrated by 'freemium' games. "They try to persuade you at every level to buy the full version," she said.

"But then you're thinking, £1, £2, should I or shouldn't I? Because you might delete it one day."

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