Apple and Google push Nintendo and Sony into No. 3 spot in mobile gaming


We’ve seen how mobile killed traditional music, draining sales from retail CD stores. Console games appear headed for the same fate. Worldwide revenue for handheld console makers fell during the second quarter of this year, pushing companies like Nintendo and Sony into third place behind the first-place Apple App Store and No. 2 Android-based Google Play.

According to a joint report by research firm IDC and app analytics company App Annie, consumers spending on mobile games in the Google Play store rose during the quarter as Android games picked up 1.6 percent of the market between the first and second quarter of 2013. The Google Play store has taken steps to attract more gaming dollars by tailoring its service for developers…

“At least on a symbolic level, Google Play pushing Nintendo and Sony down into third place suggests that Google’s games strategy is on the right track,” writes AllThingsD. Apple continues to lead everyone, drawing the majority of mobile gaming revenue.

In a recent interview with AllThingsD, Google Play project manager Greg Hartrell said 75 percent of Android users play games. Hartrell pointed to wider global availability of Google Play, coupled with increased offloading of some game development tasks to the company’s cloud and multiplayer services for the heightened revenue.


However, a third effort – adding new ways for game developers to collect money from players – is also important. Although those tactics include direct carrier billing – something Google is very good at – the process doesn’t approach the frictionless commerce enabled through Apple’s iTunes.

The dual reports also note just how prevalent iOS/Android devices are among console gamers. Around 40 percent of Nintendo and Sony game console owners in the U.S. also own one or both of the mobile gaming platforms. Around 22 percent own either an Android smartphone or tablet, while 25 percent own an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad.

2012 iPod touch (colors, five up, flat)

These findings were not surprising, but effectively an eventual statistical certainty.

Although console games generate more revenue per user, there are just 200 million handset consoles. Compare that to a whopping 1.25 billion smartphones and another 180 million tablets.

While shipments of Nintendo 3DS machines and Sony Vitas actually increased between the first and second quarter, revenue from the games fell.

In other words, while more consoles were sold, the games which act as the razor blades of the industry just could not keep up with the avalanche of free or nearly free mobile alternatives.

Apple MFi controller (image 002)

Speaking of controllers, Apple with iOS 7 is introducing an all-new support for third-party MFi game controllers, pictured above and below.

Apple MFi controller (image 001)

Three types of controllers will be supported: a standard and extended form-fitting controller where your iOS device sits inside the controller letting you access both its screen and the controller elements and an extended wireless controller, which is a controller that wirelessly connects to an iOS device or Mac.