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Web phone gamers to hit 200 million by 2005

Card games and bingo will be favourites

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Two hundred million people in Western Europe and the US will be playing Web games such as cyberbingo on mobile phones by 2005.

This represents four out of five mobile owners, according to a report by Datamonitor, putting the wireless gaming market in these two countries at
$6 billion in five years' time.

Revenues from this area will be minimal for this year - around $3 million in Europe and $200,000 in the US, but will shoot up to $1.6 billion in 2003 - $1.2 billion in Europe and $4.8 million in the US.

Europe will lead the sector, with the UK and Germany seeing the biggest wireless gaming markets. The US will have a slower start due to its fragmented market, but by 2005 it is estimated revenues here will reach $2.4 billion.

The most popular games will be family favourites such as card games, quizzes and bingo.

"The advent of WAP and the coming of high-speed wireless networking technologies GPRS and UMTS promise richer content being displayed on consumers' handsets," said Datamonitor games consultant Frederic Diot.

"Lured by the prospect of a mass-market audience and ever-improving technology, game publishers are ramping up their efforts to penetrate the wireless gaming market. Similarly, mobile phone operators and manufacturers are eager to have a head start in providing their customers with online games, which are considered premium online content." ®

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