Juniper Research forecast that total revenue for mobile games will reach $28.9 billion in 2016, as developers focus increasingly on monetisation and player re-engagement.
The 38 per cent increase on the $20.9 billion expected in 2014 will partly be driven by developers focusing on user lifetime value as they look to maximise the potential of their products, according to the analyst firm.
The Mobile & Handheld Games: Discover, Monetise and Advertise 2014-2019 report found that the domination of casual players engaging with free-to-play games has prompted developers to shift away from bulk acquisition of unique players to an approach in which analytics play a bigger role in increasing the potential return on investment.
App stores are expected to remain the main place where users discover games, with storefronts optimised to personalise discovery to a greater extent.
In addition, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia are expected to see a significant increase in in-game purchasing as disposable income rises alongside smartphone adoption.
Another interesting finding is that tablet users will spend more on in-game purchases, and generate more revenue per device than their smartphone counterparts.
Indeed, the report suggests that the better performance and graphics of tablet games is accelerating a move from traditional gaming devices. A niche audience is likely to remain for dedicated gaming devices, however.