Games for Apple iOS and Google Android platforms are stealing away U.S. game software revenue share from dedicated game consoles Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, according to a new report
from mobile analytics firm Flurry.
Drawing from publicly-revealed numbers and its own estimates, Flurry compiled the data and found that revenues from iOS and Android games made up 34 percent of total U.S. portable game software revenues in 2010 -- up from a 19 percent share in 2009.
Meanwhile, Nintendo DS portable software revenue share dropped to 57 percent in 2010 from 70 percent a year prior. PSP software revenue share dropped to 9 percent from 11 percent.
Citing the decline in Nintendo DS software share among portable devices, Flurry said in its report that Nintendo may "be struggling with its own burning platform: Nintendo DS."
The overall U.S. portable gaming category declined to $2.4 billion in 2010 from $2.7 billion in 2009, Flurry added.
The firm also said that in 2010, console and smarphone/tablet game revenue "increased at the expense of portable gaming." iOS and Android game revenues made up 8 percent of $10.7 billion in total U.S. software revenues in 2010 (not including PC), up from the iPhone's 5 percent claim of total 2009 U.S. game revenues of $10.4 billion.
Mobile digital marketplaces like Apple's App Store and the Android Market are disrupting Nintendo and Sony's more traditional software pricing and distribution model, where handheld games retail for around $40 and are played on dedicated gaming devices.
Many of the most popular smartphone games are sold in between the free to $5 range, making an interesting value proposition for the millions of current smartphone users.
But Nintendo has argued that companies that distribute vast quantities of low-priced games on mobile and social networks are devaluing games. "Their goal is to just gather as much software as possible, because … that is how they profit," said Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata
at GDC this year. "The value of video game software does not matter to them. … The fact is, what we produce has value, and we should protect that value."
[Images via Flurry report