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Smartphone Gaming Growing Rapidly, Nintendo DS Declining


Posted on November 10th, by raymond padilla in Console Wars, iPhone, Nintendo DS, PSP. 7 comments

[Updated 9:21AM PST] Flurry Analytics posted a fascinating pie chart (as fascinating as pie charts get, anyway) that illustrates the rapid growth of Android and iOS gaming, as well as the decline of Nintendo DS gaming. According to the company, Android and iOS are responsible for approximately 58 percent of U.S. portable game software revenue in 2011. This is up from 19 percent in 2009 and 34 percent in 2010. Compare this to the Nintendo DS’ 2011 software revenue, which Flurry estimates to be 36 percent of the market. This is down from 70 percent in 2009 and 57 percent in 2010.

US portable gaming revenue flurry Smartphone Gaming Growing Rapidly, Nintendo DS Declining

One thing to keep in mind is that the DS is an end-of-life product and has been replaced by the 3DS. As most of you know, the console market is cyclical, so it wasn’t surprising to see DS software sales declining over the last three years. Android and iOS games are more evergreen, since they’re not tied to a specific set of hardware. Also, Flurry vice president of marketing Peter Farago made no mention of the 3DS in his blog post. I’ve reached out to the company to see if 3DS software sales were included in the overall DS figure.

Even considering the cyclical nature of consoles, the rapid growth of smartphone gaming is extremely impressive. It will be interesting to see how standalone gaming systems like the 3DS and the upcoming PlayStation Vita will perform. With smartphones and tablets becoming fantastic gaming platforms, it’s looking like the audience for specialized gaming is shrinking.

Let me know what you think of Flurry’s study on U.S. portable gaming revenue when you have a chance (please!).

Update 9:21AM PST: Flurry VP Peter Farago confirmed that the 2011 Nintendo figure includes 3DS software sales. He told me via email, “This is total Nintendo portable data, including 3DS.” Even though the 3DS stumbled out of the gate in the U.S., sales have been picking up and there are several hot games that will sell well this holiday season. In light of that, the number is even more fascinating.

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  • Smartguy

    Yesterday I was thinking that I'd like more of a console type game on my iPad due to not having enough time to go through story sequences sometimes.

    Let's say a new Final Fantasy/Grandia/insert rpg comes out for console, handheld, and iOS as the same title I'd probably choose ios. Besides next year the ARM devices should easily out muscle what we have hooked to a tv.

  • bsukenyan

    It's sad to hear that specialized portable gaming is in rapid decline, as someone who has been such a huge lifelong fan of it. These charts remind me of similar graphs I have seen before for the original NES. When it had roughly a 70% market share, the only place the numbers could go was down. The DS was so huge for such a long time, the numbers had to decrease at some point.

    • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

      You'll get over your sadness when you ditch your BlackBerry. :P

  • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

    Updated with a confirmation from Flurry!

  • lceman

    I haven't touched my DS since GTA Chinatown Wars, which sucks, because along the way, there have been a few games that have piqued my curiosity like Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright, and a few first-party Mario/Zelda games. I think it's mainly due to the fact that I don't travel as much as I used to.

    I have learned my lesson with Pokemon and have stayed away for a long time, but I have a few ideas that would totally turn the franchise on it's head (in a good way) and introduce to a new generation a new way to play Pokemon that's unique and refreshing.

    -M

    • Smartguy

      Phoenix Wright is pretty spectacular for the first 3 entries.

      • http://rpad.tv raymond padilla

        Funny you mentioned that. I've been meaning to write about the live-action movie but forgot. I'll try to find good clips tonight.