Apple and Android beat Sony and Nintendo in portable gaming

February 21, 2013

Apple and Android beat Sony and Nintendo in portable gamingSpending on games for smartphones and tablets has overtaken that on games for dedicated portable consoles. And it doesn’t appear to be a temporary blip.

Given the comparative pricing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the number of game app purchases on mobile devices is much more than the sales of portable console games. However, research firm IDC has now teamed up with specialists AppAnnie to produce quarterly reports looking at the total amount gamers spend.

For the final quarter of 2012, they estimate than spending on mobile devices exceeded that on portable consoles, though curiously they chose not to publish the precise figures. It did note total spending on Apple games was “quite close” to that on the Nintendo DS devices.

It’s possible the lead for smartphones and tablets may be even stronger than the report suggests. Spending on portable console games appears to be highly seasonal (60% of the total quarter spending came in December), meaning this was likely the best possible quarterly total.

Another point of note is that the report only looked at Sony and Nintendo consoles and iOS and Google Play Store spending. It’s possible that excluding other smartphone and tablet systems and stores makes more of a difference to the totals than leaving out other brands of handheld console.

Other exclusions include in-app purchases on mobile devices and digital purchases on portable consoles. The chances are this made more of a difference with the mobile device totals.

Despite the figures, IDC believes Nintendo will continue to stick with the DS range simply because it already has a lot of the technology in place and a firm control of the portable console market. However, IDC predicted that the trend will mean Sony might make one more edition of the PS Vita and then call it quits in the portable market.

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