According to Gartner, Inc., worldwide mobile gaming end-user revenue is predicted to surpass $5.6 billion in 2010. That represents a staggering 20% increase from 2009 revenue of $4.7 billion. Explaining why more and more mobile games and applications are sporting banners and a variety of other well-placed digital advertisements, the revenue (and reach) of the gaming market is expected to continue seeing steady growth through 2014, when the market is projected to reach $11.4 billion.

“The hype around mobile application stores has opened this market up to numerous publishers and developers – further expanding revenue potential and competition in this industry,” said Tuong Nguyen, a research analyst at Gartner. “Although we expect most mobile gamers to continue to gravitate toward ‘free’ games, we do not expect the ad-supported model to take off within the next three years – despite the success we have seen with this approach in the Japanese market.”

Mobile marketers are slowly but surely acting upon the reality that roughly between 70% and 80% of all mobile consumer applications downloaded are mobile games. What’s more, nearly two thirds of those downloads are free, a situation that Gartner predicts will remain the “trend” for at least another two to three years.

So is mobile gaming where the game of mobile marketing is headed? If the money trail is to be followed, estimates of a booming gaming business will likely be closely followed by a newfound attention in mobile games by mobile marketers both large and small.