Flurry just published a report claiming that the iPhone and iPod touch have done so well as video game platforms that they’ve taken market share from traditional handheld gaming devices like the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS.
The research establishes a correlation between the iPhone’s growth and the PSP and DS’ decline, but not a causation. Regardless, it looks like folks who feel inclined would be justified in buying an iPod touch or an iPad rather than investing in a device that exclusively plays games — at least until the Nintendo 3DS arrives.
The Pie Chart
The revenue share pie chart is below. The data was collected from the NPD’s sales figures, Apple’s published data and some of Flurry’s own analytics. The iPhone OS devices grew from 5% of total portable games revenue to 19% between 2008 and 2009, while the DS shrunk for 75% to 70%. Sony’s PSP slipped from 20% to 11%. Ouch!
Sony’s portable device has faced a gauntlet of issues, including high launch prices, a failed media format, a lack of games for mainstream players and disappointing sales of the PSP Go — its reinvented, digital download-only device PSP Go device.
Is the iPhone OS a Gamer’s Best Bet?
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter — a sort of celebrity analyst in the games industry — called the iPhone and iPod touch “the most dangerous thing that ever happened to the publishers, ever” because of the lower App Store pricing. He argued that while publishers have become used to selling games like Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars for $30 or $40, they’ll have to sell their products on the open market of the app store for $10 or less to entice buyers.
Flurry reported earlier that games account for nearly half of all iPad app developer projects. When Apple’s iPod and iPhone were introduced in 2001 and 2007, respectively, not many people predicted that they would together evolve to become major players in the video games industry. The few folks who engaged in then-wild speculation about the possibility ought to be proud of themselves now; if the iPad continues to sell well, it could drive the platform to even greater success.
Mobile gamers: Do you still play games on portable game consoles or has your iPhone or iPod touch taken over your wallet and your subway train commute time? Share your experiences and insights in the comments.