updated 09:45 am EDT, Fri April 15, 2011
Flurry shows iOS, Android hurting Nintendo, Sony
Smartphone platforms have been deepening their impact on Nintendo and Sony game revenue, Flurry said in a new study. The combination of Android and iOS jumped from five percent of all video game revenue in 2009 to eight percent last year. Combined with a resurgence in TV gaming, the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP lines had their total revenue share cut back from 24 percent to just 16 percent.
The "significant majority" of that was iOS gaming, analysts said, although they didn't break the revenue down between Apple and Google.
Nintendo lost the most in portable gaming as a whole. The DS line had 70 percent of portable game revenue in 2009, even with the iPhone's 19 percent in play, but was cut back to 57 percent in 2010 where Android and iOS were now up to 34 percent. Sony's troubles growing the PSP kept it low, but the small nine percent of share in 2010 was only a slight drop from 11 percent a year earlier.
The cut was explained as a virtue of rapid growth in the number of Android, iPhone, and iPod devices but also by inherent advantages of their game markets. Both have much less expensive games, often $10 or less versus the $30 or more for a DS or PSP title, and a relatively easy Internet-only game buying model. Support for in-app purchases on iOS, just now reaching Android, also helped by encouraging gamers to get involved but pay for content later.
The situation was only likely to work against Nintendo and Sony this year. The launches of the iPad 2, the Verizon iPhone 4, and eventually the iPhone 5, were all expected to trigger surges in gaming. A wider range of Android devices, some of which are now dual-core, gaming friendly phones like the T-Mobile G2X, was also poised to hurt Nintendo and Sony.
Both device makers have hinted they're acutely aware of the effect and are launching new systems this year. Nintendo released the 3DS as its counter, and Sony plans to release the high-end NGP late this year with a quad-core processor and five-inch OLED that may put it at least temporarily ahead of Android and iOS for performance.