Mobile games are expected to bring in $21 billion in 2014 revenue worldwide, according to free-to-play and digital game research firm Super Data. That would be up 19 percent from the $17.7 billion spent last year. And next year’s spending is expected to go up 20 percent.

It’s news welcomed by L.A. mobile game developers that are jockeying for consumer spending.

The report, released Thursday, also said mobile games account for more than a third of monthly spending among U.S. digital gamers.

Los Angeles has long been a gaming town with heavyweights like Riot Games and Activision Blizzard within miles of each other. But L.A. startups have already begun to edge into this lucrative niche that some say has been left open by these PC- and console-focused megastudios.

Pasadena’s Industrial Toys, which targets serious gamers, raised $5 million in April in a Series A round led by Accel Partners. Culver City’s TapZen launched its first game after raising $8 million in June from Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. Entertainment giants like Walt Disney Co. and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. are also investing in game studios as mobile gaming becomes a natural extension of popular movie franchises.

The growing mobile gaming industry has also spawned other L.A. companies that create software to support mobile game developers. P4RC in Culver City offers a mobile engagement platform that incentivizes gamers to use apps longer by giving them reward points that can be redeemed for gift cards. FreeGameCredits.com, recently backed by Science Inc., encourages user reengagement through in-app purchases.

Staff reporter Melissah Yang can be reached at MYang@labusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @MelissahYang for the latest in L.A. tech news.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.