Android, iOS expected to take additional market share from gaming handhelds

By on June 14, 2013, 7:30 AM

A new joint report from research firms App Annie and International Data Corporation reveals that Android and iOS will continue to eat away at market share once owned solely by portable game consoles like the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita.

Specifically, the duo forecast that Android will gain a full 10 percent of the install base by 2014 to top out at just shy of 60 percent of the total market. iOS will increase its reach by a modest two percent and finish a hair over 20 percent. All other smartphone and tablet operating systems are expected to see a one point drop while pure portable game consoles will lose a whopping 11 percent of their install base. At that point, iOS will outpace handhelds for the first time ever.

We’re also told that the total install base of mobile / portable devices used for gaming is forecasted to rise from nearly 800 million units in 2012 to more than 1.2 billion by 2014, good for a 55 percent increase.

Those interested in free-to-play mobile games may be interested to learn that microtransactions will make up 51 percent of total revenue this year. Offering users a free game then charging them for in-game items or upgrades has proven to be incredibly successful – perhaps more than anyone could have envisioned.

Given the figures, most would conclude that the average gamer would spend more on gaming apps than titles for dedicated handhelds. That’s not true, however, according to the two firms. In fact, average revenue per user is actually on the rise with handhelds but will it be enough to keep them alive?

User Comments: 1

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Guest said:

Wow, amazing!! AppAnnie, a website specifically focused on apps for iOS and Android, says that these platforms will take more marketshare from 3DS and Vita! Who woulda thunk it? Also, you mean to tell me there are more people with phones than handheld gaming consoles? I never would have guessed! /rolls eyes/

Seriously though, yes, there are way, WAY more people using smartphones than there are using 3DS or Vita's, but that's a given considering that smartphones are phones/general internet devices, while the handhelds are mainly just for gaming. Vita has of course flopped horribly but the 3DS is over 30 million sold which is an excellent amount of sales so far, and it just keeps getting better and better games which will only drive sales further. Nintendo will probably end up selling 70 million or more of the things by the time they release their next gen handhelds in a few years, which, market percentage wise, is pretty impressive and in line with their previous successes.

Honestly, these two markets shouldn't even be compared, they are almost entirely separate, with one being focused on cheap, basic touchscreen games and the other focused on delivering 'traditional' games, with proper controls and more 'fleshed out' designs compared to the standard touch games.

Smartphone market is the smartphone market. Handheld console market is the handheld console market. They are different. And if Sony had actually gotten some decent games out for the Vita, it would have sold. It just has a terrible library. Nintendo got good games coming out for the 3DS and the things fly off the shelves now.

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