Can Android and iOS take down the mobile gaming giants?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
Just like anything else, video games have changed over the years. As the games themselves advance through the technology used to create them, so do the devices we play them on. No longer just about playing games in the house, we can now enjoy some of our favorite titles right in our hands from our smartphones. No longer do we need a portable game console, like Nintendo’s DS or Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP). We can get the same entertainment right from our phones. There’s no doubt that mobile gaming is a huge market, but it looks like iOS and Android are beginning to take a much bigger piece of the pie then some may have originally imagined.
The mobile gaming market has seen a steady increase over the last few years, with Nintendo’s DS taking up the majority of the market all on its own. Of course, since 2009 the portable video game console has seen different variations of the device ship all over the world, which is more than likely being included in this new report. Perhaps not surprisingly is the position of Sony’s PSP, which hasn’t seen the greatest support or love recently.
What that pie chart above shows us, is that mobile gaming as a whole is still seeing an increase. It’s still ridiculously popular, but it’s no longer just popular for those who “play video games.” It’s not just about a select few anymore. Perhaps it still is for those who are still buying those portable gaming consoles, but for the gaming market on our smartphones, it’s all about access. Anyone who owns an Android or iOS-based device can buy a game whenever they want, right from their phone, and start playing it immediately.
We can see that Nintendo’s huge 70 percent market presence dropped in 2010 to 57%. That’s a huge decrease, and it shows how much broader the audience for mobile gaming has become. Even the PSP’s 11 percent has dropped to only 9%. But, what’s interesting is that in 2009 Flurry wasn’t even reporting on Android mobile gaming software sales, accounting only for iOS’ 19% market presence. That’s changed, as Android is included in the report for 2010, but it’s bundled with iOS. The result is a 34% market climb, but there’s no telling how much iOS and Android account for separately.
Flurry suggests that the mobile gaming market has actually declined since 2009, from $2.7 billion to $2.4 billion in 2010. But considering how much money is spent in Apple’s App Store, and how much money is dished out within the Android Market for games (despite the fact that there are some games on Android which are attainable for free), I’m actually surprised by this. It could be true, but that would not change the fact that the mobile gaming audience has broadened, and it’s no longer a niche market.
Do you believe that mobile gaming has grown over the last few years, and do you still see it growing? How do you think the release of Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s upcoming Next Generation Portable (NGP) will change things next year? Let me know in the comments below.