* Glu Mobile chief sees mobile gaming market shrinking
* Says new platforms changing industry
By Tarmo Virki
HELSINKI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Mobile gaming market is set to shrink in 2009 after years of surging growth as falling cellphone sales dampen demand, Glu Mobile (GLUU.O) Chief Executive Greg Ballard said in an interview on Thursday.
New phones boost game-buying, and success of Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone has been one of the key drivers for the market.
Earlier on Thursday, the world’s top cellphone maker Nokia NOK1V.HE said handset market would see volumes shrinking around 10 percent as weakening economies sap consumer demand.
“The economy has affected the market, and all our client-operators are saying this is impacting,” Ballard said.
Glu Mobile has forecast for its revenues to fall 10 percent to 15 percent in 2009, but Ballard said the company — which tracks bigger rivals Electronic Arts ERTS.O and Gameloft GLFT.PA — also expects the total market to shrink.
Roughly half of Glu’s lowered revenue forecast comes from the market shrinking and the other half from foreign exchange, Ballard said.
The mobile games industry expects wider adoption of new platforms like Nokia’s N-Gage, Google’s (GOOG.O) Android, Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry to boost the market as they make it easier for consumers to find and buy games.
He said 2009 looks “to be some kind of transition year. There is really exciting growth on Blackberry, iPhone, N-Gage and increasingly on Android, there’s clearly reason for optimism — it’s a brand new game.”
Glu hopes to benefit from its focus on rolling out new games at the same time on many platforms, reaching wider audience at once, Ballard said.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)
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