Gartner Inc., a market research group, has done research and published a report about the market trends surrounding the gaming industry. Their findings, which have been summed up and brought to light by GamesIndustry.biz, suggest that more than $74 billion will be spent wordwide on games and hardware in the gaming industry by the end of 2011.

The company highlights several reasons for the profit gains in 2011, up from 2010 by more than 10% ; smartphones, online software sales and the free-to-play model all make the list in this summation of the report. Principal Research Analyst Tuong Nguyen offered this:

“As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices…Mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores. For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices.”

The free-to-play gaming model is discussed specifically as well. It’s there that Gartner finds a huge potential for growth in the coming years, as virtual goods and user bases rise drastically over time. However, the success of this side of the industry, according to the report, hinges upon the continued growth of social networks. Facebook will need to keep surging in order for the free-to-play and virtual good spaces to succeed.

Or, games could come to Google+, the search engine conglomerate’s social networking effort.

The sum up from GI.biz ends with a slight warning regarding the increase in sales and fiscal performance in the gaming arena. Mobile tech must evolve at a quick pace in order to keep up with the demands of gamers. They’re clearly alluding to a 3D version of Angry Birds, we just know it.

We’ll have more on the industry, including constant surges of sarcasm, as it comes up.

[via GamesIndustry.biz]