According to a new survey from App Annie and IDC, mobile gaming is on a course to exceed $12 billion in revenue this year. Between mobile phones, tablets and handheld devices like the 3DS and the Playstation Vita, more than 800 million mobile devices were used for gaming in 2012. Most of those were smartphones and tablets, with the 3DS and PS Vita only forming a tiny part of that. Next year, the two companies predict the market will grow to over 1.2 billion devices, while the numbers of dedicated gaming handhelds will remain steady.

Microtransactions (in-app purchases) accounted for more than 40 percent of revenue in 2012; this number is expected to jump to 51 percent of the revenue for 2013, with pre-paid sales accounting for 44 percent and advertising the remaining 5 percent. Average revenue per user (ARPU) for smartphones and tablets is projected to remain above $10. This is one area where dedicated gaming handhelds have an advantage; their ARPU is under $15 right now but is projected to climb to around $19 by the end of 2014.

Free-to-play (F2P) games have a huge following on mobile devices; the top 20 highest grossing games on the Android App Store right now are all F2P games which feature microtransactions. Similar to the how MMORPGs have been shifting towards free-to-play with microtransactions, mobile gaming has seen similar success and popularity with that business model. As mobile gaming becomes a larger market, the appeal of being able to pick up and play a game without paying and then customizing the experience through microtransactions increases as well.