Analyst group Flurry estimates that games released on Apple's iOS and Google's Android will make around $1.9 billion in combined revenues across the United States this year. This suggests that games based on these two platforms now bring in more revenue than Nintendo DS and Sony PSP games combined.
According to the group's study, the Nintendo DS dominated the portable gaming market in 2009 with a 70-percent share followed by Sony's PSP with an 11-percent share. Interestingly, the iOS/Android group already conquered Sony with a 19-percent share in the same year. By 2010, they commanded 34-percent of the market, reducing Nintendo's share to 57-percent and Sony's share to 9-percent.
By the end of 2011, the iOS/Android duo will consume 58-percent of the mobile gaming market while the Nintendo DS takes another hit, reduced to 36-percent. Sony's PSP seemingly doesn't have a chance with a meager 6-percent share. However when using actual dollar amounts, these percentages mean the entire mobile gaming sector took in an estimated $2.7 billion in 2009, $2.5 billion in 2010 and $3.3 billion in 2011.
"The most striking trend is that iOS and Android games have tripled their market share from roughly 20-percent in 2009 to nearly 60-percent in just two years," Flurry states. "Simultaneously, Nintendo, the once dominant player, has been crushed down to owning about one-third of market in 2011, from having controlled more than two-thirds in 2009. Combined, iOS and Android game revenue delivered $500 million, $800 million and $1.9 billion over 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively."
"Within the portable category, an abundance of digitally distributed free and $0.99 games, available on hardware, that is both comparably priced and more powerful than traditional portable game devices, better appeals to many consumers," the group continues. "As a result, the days of paying $25, or more, for a cartridge at a retail store may soon end. Further, the installed base of iOS and Android devices has not only reached critical mass, but also continues to grow at unprecedented rates. In their latest public statements regarding installed base, Apple and Google reported a total of 250 million iOS devices and 190 million Android devices activated, respectively."
The report goes on to point out that Nintendo is facing its first fiscal year loss since the company began reporting profits in 1981 thanks to the slumping sales of the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii console. The new 3DS also didn't quite catch on, forcing the company to take another hit by dropping its price to $169.99 USD. Meanwhile Google and Apple are entering the console space by invading the consumer living room thanks to the tablet form factor (with HDMI output no less) and upcoming Apple and Google TV initiatives.
"Beyond 2011, if Nintendo continues to face financial hardship, it may be forced to consider difficult choices such as divesting its hardware business and distributing its content, for the first time, across non-proprietary platforms," Flurry states even though Nintendo recently stated that it has no plans to enter the smartphone sector whatsoever.
Is it really game over for Nintendo and Sony in the mobile sector? For Nintendo, the end may be near if the 3DS doesn't gain enough traction. Sony on the other hand has chosen to cast out a safety net (should the PS Vita fail) by supporting the Android platform. Maybe Nintendo will eventually figure that out too.
To read the full report, head here.