iOS and Android are rapidly taking over the portable gaming market

iOS and Android are rapidly taking over the portable gaming market
Since the inception of mobile gaming, Nintendo has been a dominant player in the market with multiple incarnations of its Gameboy and DS series. Late-arriver, Sony, also managed to garner success with the introduction of its PlayStation Portable, or PSP. It seemed unlikely that another player could even hope to rival these two giants, let alone significantly reduce their market share.

iOS and Android have done just that. Traditionally portable gaming software revenue was fueled by physical game purchases, often in the form of a cartridge or a UMD, for around $40 a piece. Now, that revenue stream is also being powered by digital downloads. Both Android and iOS offer a significant amount of high-quality, premium games for $0.99 as well as games which are distributed using the ‘freemium’ model, which is when a game is free to download but offers in-app upgrades and purchases for additional content.

Flurry, a mobile applications analytics company, released a report today that shows the distribution of U.S. portable game software revenue over the last three years. Even though iOS and Android games typically cost much less from a price per unit standpoint, they have managed to expand from comprising 19% of the revenue in 2009 to a whopping 58% in 2011. Conversely, Sony and Nintendo have dropped from 11% and 70% in 2009 to 6% and 36% in 2011, respectively.

This dramatic shift in revenue source has caused some to question whether or not Sony and Nintendo can remain viable in this space at all. Despite including a 3DS store with its latest portable system for digital downloads, poor sales caused the manufacturer to slash the retail price of the 3DS and now Nintendo is anticipating posting their first fiscal year loss in over 30 years. The PlayStation Vita, which is set to be released in the U.S. on February 22, 2012, will feature a reduced rate, digital download option for all of its retail games.

It is not all doom and gloom for these two companies. While the hardware and software distribution models seem to be failing, there is still a lot of interest and desire to play games that feature IPs from both companies. Only time will tell if classic franchises such as Mario, Zelda, God of War, and Uncharted, to name a few, will eventually make their way to Android and iOS devices or if Nintendo and Sony will continue to manufacture hardware and release IPs exclusively to their own devices.

source: Flurry via Electronista



1. aztaxia12295

Posts: 272; Member since: Nov 22, 2009

never knew the ds was THAT good. i think phones r taking over because their technology is moving more rapidly than hand held game consoles.

25. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

First, it wasn't DS is that good but more of the PSP failed to keep up with the times and the PSP Go was a dud plus PSP had a really sh*tty game selection. Btw, the screen on the PSP just blows away the DS. The first time I played Hot Shot Golf (one of my favorite PSP games), the graphics was years ahead of the DS plus the PSP had a big screen for a portable device. I am getting the PSP Vita just for the hell of it Second, the reason why Apple is winning the war is because the games are a lot cheaper on the App Store. Infinity Blade was just a few dollars. Plus, the download took maybe 20 minutes. You compare it to going to a store, spending $20 to $30 to $40 for a cartridge and then the Nintendo game system played slow (after being hooked on the A4 chip).

31. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

when is the PSP vita goin to be released? is it true that psp vita was already hack? or is there alrady a customer firm ware for this?

32. rendHELL

Posts: 304; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

when is the PSP vita goin to be released? is it true that psp vita was already hack? or is there alrady a customer firm ware for this?

2. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Love playing Mario 64 & Riptide via chainfire 3D on my GS2

3. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Ios does appear to be doing great with gamming due to a great gpu and app store with android not to far behind. Should be exciting what these mobile platforms have in store ! :)

6. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Yes! NVIDIA is said to have developers working in 15 games that will work in tegra 2 and 3 and offer console like performance and graphics can't wait till we see something about that

36. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Should be fun to see what happens with mobile device gaming in the near future

4. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Of course iOS is obviously making a lot of progress in the portable gaming market and Android is barely there yet, but enough to get noticed.

5. AKm007

Posts: 108; Member since: Sep 06, 2011

This is what starts fights here. Can't you just accept that android has its own merits and the sun doesn't circle around you and IOS?

8. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

he didn't exactly put down Android and besides he's right. Apple has been ahead in the smartphone gaming scene for a while. Android is just recently starting to get a respectable collection of games.

24. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

exactly, he is being honest I have android and I know it do not stand a cake to Apple with gaming but everything else we right there

12. Johnny_Mnemonic

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Miz Who wants to play on that 4s screen that's for kids, let's play on a real android screen

18. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

You're not even including the emulators which Android dominates iOS in. I don't believe you're able to do much heavy gaming on iOS, they're basically simple minded games where you just have to touch here and there. Android is able to emulate classic console games where you can actually use the real controller over simple finger presses.

20. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

it depends on what your term of "heavy gaming" is. it's true i didn't really think about console emulation as i don't really think it's THAT big of a tide turner and the N64/PS emulators are still really buggy anyway so iOS can easily make up for that loss with it's own extensive, original collection of games especially more in depth ones like MMORPGs and stuff like that and not only that an iPhone CAN use console emulation when it's Jailbroken. it's a user preference thing but for the ideal, original, smartphone gaming experience iOS takes the cake. not the iPhone itself though. it's hampered by it's small screen.

7. Kease

Posts: 36; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

No hardcore gamer would ever choose a phone over nintendo our sony, but it's probably a combination ofcost and availability. But then, hardcore gamers stick mostly to consoles anyway. Angrybirds and cut the rope are neat to stick it to the man at work or for the wait at the dmv, but why on earth would I ever play uncharted on a 10 in screen? Maybe a replay, but not initially. It's like waiting for the new "insert highly anticipated movie title here", and skipping the theater to watch it at home. That's cheating yourself of the full on experience!

9. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

It depends, android devices already support different gaming inputs (controls, screen sensors) so when you buy a Tab or a superphone you might still get a console like experience, that and some nice games that have being cooking lately.

17. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

No hardcore gamer would ever choose anything over PC. Anybody that even mentions anything else better than PC in gaming doesn't know gaming. All those other devices/consoles are used for casual gaming.

41. Kease

Posts: 36; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

Touche, my point is that to anyone who cares about gaming first, would never dream of such a substitute. Console vs computer is the ios vs droid argument, and I don't care enough to argue really. I will concede the pc's superior gaming experience, fit the lives at home with mom in their forties or the antisocial I only exist online crowd. But for those who like to hook up to a50" tv and have ppl over and bout play like a hermit cuz I won't let anyone touch my custom built alienware, then by all means I prefer the inferior experience. Nerd...

10. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i see the DS as a casual kind of system (aside from the Pokemon titles of course) and i get that itched scratched with my phone so i can see why Nintendo is failing and as for Sony, the PSP just plain sucks. i had a first gen one and after it broke i tried to fix it but i didn't find it worth replacing. the PSV however, that's more for Hardcore Gamers. i can see that selling, hell even i kind of want one. then there's Xbox LIVE support on Windows Phones kind of making them like it's portable solution. Microsoft was smart to do that. i still kind of want a Windows Phone but i need them to be so much more before i would buy one.

28. varsas

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

That's a very narrow view given the system is the home to huge number JPRGs that are the definition of hardcore gaming.

38. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

what are you talking about?

11. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Well now. I'm sure that iOS is the lion's share of that percentage, but Android is catching up. Many of the mainstream games available on iOS are available on Android now too, and Android has even scored a couple of exclusives like Minecraft, which by itself has been downloaded over 50,000 times-not bad for a game that costs 7 bucks up front.

15. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Minecraft is surely a great win for Android but most of the games made available from iOS to Android are just usually dumps from the App Store.

26. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

its true just ports, that is only thing sucks about having android but everything else we good

13. nameless1521

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Im sceptical about ios&android are taking over portable console market. It's gonna ends up PC vs XBOX, PS3. I woundn't take this seriously unless Pokemon is officially available for ios or android.

16. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

omg that would be so much win. :D

30. Scuba_Steve

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

Love your enthusiasm haha

19. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

PC > XBox + PS3 already. Anybody that says otherwise is likely a weak gamer. XBox + PS3 is like the iOS of console gaming. All users have the same set up and are limited to the hardware that is provided. Unfortunately, PC technology advancements have been declining the past few years due to the limitations coming from XBox + PS3. God I hope this doesn't happen for mobile devices.

21. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

so? i'm sure the Xbox has really juicy hardware to be able to do what it does. i don't want to know the specs exactly because some things i think should remain a mystery but what's the big deal about people playing games with the same set-up? what makes playing CoD on an Xbox any less than playing CoD on a PC? huh? tell me that. i think it's nice having a dedicated system for gaming especially gaming as immersive as it is on Xbox LIVE.

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