Mobile games outsold handheld games from Nintendo and Sony in Q4

By on February 21, 2013, 3:00 PM

We’ve known for a while now that mobile games were having a serious impact on the traditional handheld industry. This was evident when Nintendo was forced to slash the price of the 3DS to make up for lower than expected sales and even more so just a couple of days ago when Sony revealed they would be reducing the price of the PS Vita by as much as 33 percent in Japan.

Now thanks to research firms IDC and App Annie, we have some solid data to back up what the game makers are already well aware of. During the fourth quarter of 2012, consumers spent more money on mobile games from Apple’s App Store and Google Play than they did on dedicated handheld systems from Nintendo and Sony.

Furthermore, spending on portable systems was extremely seasonal as 60 percent of games purchased took place in December, likely in the form of Christmas gifts. Money spent on mobile games was distributed more evenly across the quarter, we are told.

In the mobile sector, data shows that consumers are more likely to spend money on a game than they are any other type of app. Games accounted for roughly a third of all app downloads during the last three months of 2012 but in terms of revenue, 60 percent of all app spending in the App Store and 80 percent in Google Play came from games.

It still may be premature to proclaim portable console gaming is dead but if things continue along this path, Nintendo and Sony could be in serious trouble.

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