What a turnaround. The 20-year dominance of Nintendo and Sony in the mobile game market appears to be at an end.
According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, Android and iOS will this year generate about $500 million more in revenue from the sales of games than the DS and PSP makers.
“The most striking trend is that iOS and Android games have tripled their market share from roughly 20% in 2009 to nearly 60% in just two years,” Flurry said in its report.
The once mighty Nintendo, on the other hand, now has just over a third of the market, down from just over two-thirds only two years ago.
“Combined, iOS and Android game revenue delivered $500 million, $800 million and $1.9 billion over 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively,” Flurry said.
In contrast, “Nintendo and Sony posted a combined $2.2 billion, $1.6 billion and $1.4 billion for 2009, 2010 and 2011.”
The overall mobile games market looks healthy, according to Flurry’s statistics. The analytics firm said that total US sales of $2.7 billion were made in 2009. The figure was estimated to be in the region of $2.5 billion for 2010, and $3.3 billion for this year.
The massive proliferation of smartphones, on which most people play their Android and iOS games, has certainly taken its toll on Nintendo and Sony. Games for smartphones can be cheap ($0.99), or free, and easy to obtain. Games for the DS and PSP devices, on the other hand, can cost up to $40, Flurry’s report explained.
There were troubling signs for Nintendo a few months back when the Japanese company was forced to knock $80 off the price of its poor-selling 3DS device soon after its launch.
Flurry’s report said that the outlook for Nintendo appears to be rather bleak. “Due in part to its demise in the portable game category, Nintendo is facing its first fiscal year loss since the company began reporting profits in 1981. Combined with slumping Wii sales, Nintendo is indeed struggling, even with its powerful stable of original IP led by Mario Brothers, and despite the fact that the exchange rate between the Japanese Yen and U.S. dollar is currently in its favor,” the report said.
As for Sony, revenue from PSP game sales has never really impressed, with just 6 percent of the market expected for this year. Executives at the company will be waiting nervously to see how its new Vita mobile games device is received by consumers when it’s released in February.
With 250 million iOS devices and 190 million Android devices in the hands of users, the dominance of the two platforms in the mobile gaming market will only go on rising, at least for the foreseeable future.