iOS and Android are Sony’s and Nintendo’s Worst Nightmares (Opinion)

iOS and Android are Sony’s and Nintendo’s Worst Nightmares (Opinion)

Whenever I make a visit to my local Gamestop or Best Buy, I wander through the aisles, checking out the latest in video gaming hardware and software. Sure, I’m tempted by the Sony PlayStation Vita, and the Nintendo 3DS, I even fondle them a bit. But I always come back to one thought. “What the hell do I need these for when I have my iPhone and iPad?”


As Fortune reports, the latest research from Flurry Analytics shows that Android and iOS devices last year accounted for 58% of all mobile gaming revenues in the United States while the Sony PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS accounted for just 36% of mobile gaming revenue in the U.S. For some perspective, consider that back in 2009 Nintendo alone accounted for 70% of all mobile U.S. gaming revenue.

Fortune quotes Cowen analyst Doug Creutz who says the tablets and smartphones have been instrumental in the growth of the mobile gaming industry, saying “We believe that consumer preferences may be switching decisively to mobile games, given that game quality is similar, if not better, and mobile games have the added advantage of being playable at any time, anywhere.”

Smartphone and tablets are becoming constantly more powerful and popular. Major game publishers, Electronic Arts among them, are realizing that games are increasingly turning to their portable device for their gaming fix. With increasingly powerful internal components, larger screens, and their always connected state, devices such as tablets and smartphones are becoming ever more attractive to the ever on the go gamer.

The fact that their ever present phone or tablet is perfectly capable of supplying high-quality gaming leads a gamer like myself to think, “Why do I need to carry around another device, just for games?”

Nintendo’s 3DS, and Sony’s PlayStation Vita are facing an uphill battle for success like never before. Worldwide sales of the 3DS hit 1.86 million last quarter, a respectable figure, but not a HUGE number. The Vita had a strong opening, but is now struggling just to keep sales up to an acceptable level.

As recently as 2009, Nintendo grabbed 70% of all U.S. portable game software revenue. Last year, that figure plunged to 36%. On the flip side, iOS and Android gaming revenue combined to grow from just 19% three years ago to 58% last year.

Does this mean the end of dedicated portable gaming consoles? I think not. The early 80s saw the “experts” broadcasting the end of the gaming console after the deaths of the Atari 5200 and the Colecovision. Then Nintendo exploded on the scene with their original 8-bit console, and we all know what happened then. But it is safe to say that tablets and smartphones have changed the portable gaming market in a way that no one could have seen just a few short years ago.

I myself have changed my mobile gaming ways. I was a heavy user of the original Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP portable systems. Now my iPhone and iPad take up the bulk of my gaming time, even stealing play cycles from my much beloved Xbox 360. And while I still get my sports gaming fix on my Xbox, (Nothing beats Madden on the big screen with surround sound), I find myself picking up my iPhone more and more when I want my fix.

That’s my opinion folks, if iOS and Android devices aren’t outright killing portable gaming machines like Nintendo’s DS and the PlayStation Vita, they’ve at the very least taken a huge chunk of their revenue pie. But enough of my yammering, what do you think?

Has the iPhone, iPad, or Android device you own replaced your former portable gaming system in your heart of hearts? Are dedicated systems on their way out, or is “the next best thin” just around the corner, ready to reinvigorate the portable gaming system industry?

Sound off, we want to hear your opinions. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.