Google Play store has gone past Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s PS Vita in terms of mobile game spending, according to the latest data released by IDC and App Annie in their portable gaming report for Q2 2013.
With the rise of high end smartphones with enviable processing speeds, the demand for gaming optimized handhelds has either been on the decline or stagnant in some phases. As the report shows, this trend continues to grow. While Google Play stormed into the second place in terms of gamer spends leaving the handhelds behind, the Apple App store continued to dominate at the top spot.
Let’s examine each of the key takeaways from the report.
Worldwide Gaming Optimized Handhelds
While the sales of both the top contenders in the handheld market grew ever so slightly, further decline in Nintendo’s original DS and DSi was observed.
- The gaming optimized handheld installed base was almost 200 million in Q2, 2013.
- The digital sales for the handhelds, grew incrementally.
Downloads and consumer spending on games
The report suggested that games were still the driving force behind both the leading app store’s growth, in terms of download among all apps as well as in terms of consumer spending.
- Game apps now represent almost 40% of all downloads on both the app stores.
- Game apps represented over 70% of app revenue on both app stores.
- Google Play is making more money than even iOS store in terms of consumer spending
- The data includes all applicable smartphones and tablets, including the iPod touch.
Worldwide Portable Game Consumer Spending
For the first time Google Play went past gaming optimized handhelds, hence taking the second spot in terms of worldwide spending by consumers on portable games. Apple’s App store still dominates the market but Google Play’s rise could be a sign of things to come.
Having actually outshone the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS in terms of game spend, Google Play now poses a serious threat to them, simply because the number of devices running the Android OS is always on the rise.
Another very interesting point to be considered is that the gaming optimized handheld revenue actually includes all packaged and digital content while the revenue from advertisements has not been considered. This means if the ad revenue is added to these figures, the amount of money that the app stores are making would actually leave the handhelds gasping for breath.
- Both iOS and Google Play grew in terms of game sales from Q1 2013 to Q2 2013.
- When combined, the App store and Google Play consumer spending rose to 4 times that of gaming optimized handhelds.
Top 5 grossing games worldwide by platforms.
- Finnish superstars Supercell continued to dominate the iOS App store’s game arena. Two of their games still rank in the top five grossing games’ category.
- Candy Crush Saga and Puzzle & Dragons were the two games who remained in the top 5 of both the app stores.
So why exactly are handhelds losing out to these app stores?
- Well for starters, the app stores offer indie developers a lot more freedom than game consoles do. And it is no hidden secret that indie developers pretty much rule the roost when it comes to a number of app stores whether it is on mobile platforms or the social gaming scene.
- Also, games developed for the app stores can actually be ported to the other platforms and hence a wider audience can be reached, which can never be the case with a handheld.
As far as the geographic reach is concerned, Google Play’s game revenue continued to come mostly from Asia-pacific, especially Japan and South Korea. While the handheld’s spending grew mostly in Western Europe.
This again can prove to be a bone of contention because Nintendo’s original and favorite market continues to be Japan, so if the games on the app stores are quenching the gamers’ thirst then handheld console should feel alarmed.
Sony has already taken a very wise and calculated step by reducing the prices for the PS Vita and allowing gamers to consider Vita as a viable portable option for streaming games from the upcoming PS4 console. Hence, keeping the interest in the Vita afloat. But all eyes are on the legendary Nintendo DS, the company’s current console the Wii U is yet to deliver on its promises.
If Nintendo’s handheld market starts feeling the heat from these app stores, especially the Google Play store, then Nintendo could land in further trouble.