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Study: Portable gamers to nearly double by 2009

Competition is pushing the growth of games market, according to a Jupiter Research study that also found a surprising percentage of women among adult game players.

The audience for handheld game players will grow to 43 million in 2009 from 23 million last year, with revenue also heading upward to $2.7 billion, according to Jupiter Research.

The study looked at users of game devices such as Nintendo's Game Boy and Nokia's N-Gage, as well as people who play more than five hours per week on PDAs (personal digital assistants) and cell phones--a group expected to grow at an average annual rate of 16 percent through 2009.

Handheld gaming devices are one of the major draws at this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Games are some of the most desirable applications for handheld devices. The Jupiter study found that video games ranked ahead of music and photos in applications used on a portable device.

"Competition is the major driver of growth over the next five years. As device manufacturers and content developers cater to broader audiences, we will see some amazing things happen," Jupiter's research director, Michael Gartenberg, said in a statement.

The study unveiled some interesting trends on gender: Among the 17 percent of online adults who own handheld game devices, nearly two-thirds are women. But that figure is almost the opposite with teens; among the 34 percent of teens who own handheld game devices, nearly two-thirds are boys.