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Video game spending set to hit $74 billion this year

Market researcher Gartner says the figure will continue to grow over the next several years and, by 2015, reach $112 billion.

A look at game spending over the next several years.

Consumer spending on video game hardware and software is on the rise, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.

Spending on hardware, software, and online play will reach $74.4 billion this year, Gartner said yesterday, up 10.4 percent from the $67 billion consumers spent last year. The market researcher said that consumers around the world will spend nearly $18 billion on game hardware this year and $44.7 billion on game software. Online gaming revenue will reach $11.9 billion in 2011, Gartner predicts.

"This large market size means that many consumers embrace gaming as a core piece of their entertainment budget and will continue to play as long as game publishers deliver compelling and fun games," Fabrizio Biscotti, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

Over the next several years, the rate of revenue growth will be fastest in online gaming, Gartner predicts. The research firm said that online-gaming revenue will nearly double to $21.5 billion in 2013, and then jump once again to $28.2 billion in 2015. Over that period, online-gaming revenue will see a 27 percent compound annual growth rate, Gartner said.

Hardware revenue will continue to grow, as well, jumping to $24.6 billion in 2013 and $27.4 billion in 2015. Software revenue will reach $51.1 billion in 2013 and $56.5 billion in 2015. All told, consumers will spend over $112 billion on the gaming industry in 2015.

According to Gartner, software revenue gains will be spurred by mobile devices. In 2010, mobile gaming made up 15 percent of the worldwide game software market. In 2015, that figure will jump to 20 percent.

"As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices," Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "Although [these devices] are never used primarily for gaming, mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores. For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices."

Gartner isn't alone in its predictions regarding mobile games. Last year, eMarketer said it sees mobile-game revenue hitting $11.4 billion worldwide in 2014. In May, NPD said that nearly half of all game downloads happen on mobile devices. Perhaps more importantly to traditional game publishers, NPD found that 40 percent of gamers are spending less on physical games than they did prior to jumping in on mobile games.