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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Worldwide mobile phone gaming revenue slid 9 percent during the three months ended in June, sparking concern about slowing demand in the category, research firm iSuppli said on Wednesday.
Analyst David Carnevale of iSuppli said the quarterly decline, which was caused by weak subscriptions for games, was "a significant blow" to momentum the category has had in recent quarters.
By contrast, in this year's first three months, mobile game revenue rose 11 percent globally, the research firm said. Top mobile game publishers include Gameloft GLFT.PA, Electronic Arts ERTS.O, Namco Bandai (7832.T) and Glu Mobile (GLUU.O).
Carnevale said it was too soon to say whether the second-quarter decline was a one-off event in a continuing growth trend, or if the slackening demand would continue.
"We're going to see if it's seasonality or if the games aren't compelling enough," he said in an interview, referring to possible explanations for the recent dip in sales.
He said it was difficult to predict demand for the second half of the year but cautioned that there were signs of an ongoing slowdown.
"While the third quarter performance and the fourth quarter outlook appear optimistic, the pace of growth is slowing, causing great concern to content providers," he said in a research report.
Nontheless, iSuppli still expects mobile gaming revenue to nearly triple by 2011 to $6.6 billion from $2.3 billion in 2006.
Reporting by Sinead Carew