When Apple added the App Store to iOS, the iPhone and iPod touch became about as disruptive to the handheld video game market as the iPhone was to the smartphone industry. All of a sudden, users had easy access to thousands of low-cost video games.

But not only has Apple since sold more iOS devices than handheld systems from Nintendo and Sony put together, it’s actually sold more than all major console systems. This, among other factors, makes iOS one of the most popular gaming platforms of all time…

During its latest quarterly earnings call, Apple announced that it had sold more than 400 million iOS devices to date. And, as you can see in the graph above, that’s far more than any other console — mobile or otherwise.

But we can’t assume that everyone who owns an iOS device is a gamer. In fact, we know they’re not. So Asymco analyst Horace Dediu did some number crunching.

“At this year’s WWDC Apple offered an update on Game Center accounts. The data we have so far (about 130 million active accounts) is show in the following graph…

…Before being acquired, another network OpenFeint, announced 180 million iOS accounts in October 2011. Another figure to consider is the 40 million subscribers to Xbox Live (out of 66 million Xbox users).”

Even if we just look at the number of folks that were registered with OpenFeint, that’s still roughly 30 million more users than Playstation 2 sales. And you can’t think that this number speaks for all iOS gamers today, especially since Apple has sold millions of devices since last fall.

And what’s interesting is, Apple has achieved all of this without really trying — the developers did most of the work, Apple just gave them a platform. Imagine if it really started paying attention, say by adding an app store to its Apple TV set or making a gamepad.

What do you think, do you use your iOS devices for gaming?


  • Sure, i play games on iOS, id say most do, even if rarely.
    I find iOS to be good for casual games, like Bejeweled, Angry Birds, Cut The Rope. Sure there are millions of games, even including GTA3 on iOS, but games like GTA will always hold a place on my gaming console, not my little iOS devices. To me the touch screen controls are not accurate enough to make games like those fun. But if you take a game like Temple Run, Sure it would work as a simple console game, but the touch controls and portability factor make it great for iOS (and other smart phones)
    I think App Devs see smart phones to be the best way to go, cheap or FREE games, that everyone can play, is better then a game company spending millions on, now a $60 game that people might play for a few months.
    iOS is the best way to go, and will continue to grow!

  • AforAppleAforAndoid

    better way to burn the fandroids here lately.

    • Shhhhh, not too loud. This androinites parasites like to hang around Apple oriented blog sites.

  • therealjjohnson

    Just stop. The title is just a bit ridiculous.

  • I hate articles like this, it’s putting the iPhone in a category that it shouldn’t be. The iPhone is sold as a phone not a gaming device. People buy the iPhone because it can do multiple things and games just happen too come along with it in the App Store. If you really wanna crunch some numbers than how about doing the iPod Touch, that would be a more fair comparison!

    • Apple themselves call the iPhone a “gaming device.”

      • I not denying that at all but that’s only a PART of what it is. People just don’t buy an iPhone too play games. If that was the case than iPod Touch sales would be just as high. Funny how those Open Feint numbers didn’t show how many of those people were using an iPod for those accounts!

      • Definitely agree on that, the gaming is just a part of it. And it would be very interesting to know how many are on iPods versus the iPhone.

    • These days phones barely get used to call people, TXT msg and apps are what MY iPhone is used for, and the same thing could be done on a iPod touch, main diff is ipod needs wifi, where my iphone has a data plan.
      And as for the #’s, its for iOS, thats iPhone iPad and iPod touch.

  • yeah ios has great games but i will never rate IOS as a top gaming platform until apple finally makes a really physical controller that works on all games!!!!!! no control + cannot take it serious cause touching the screen does not work well with ast complicated games

  • I personally that IOS has the potential to do even greater things as far gaming is concerned, like someone else mentioned a dedicated wireless controller that could mirror through the apple tv, so that you could truly enjoy your gaming experience. Plus I don’t see gaming companies don’t do more dedicated ports to IOS because there untapped potential there as well.