Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have achieved yet another milestone, outperforming portable gaming console companies such as Nintendo and Sony in terms of revenue. When Apple updated the iPod touch in 2008—adding the new App Store SDK to iOS—the company marketed the iPod as a gaming device. Popular games such as Super Monkey Ball had launched for the iPhone 3G at the same time and developers began to create new types of games to take advantage of the camera and accelerometer. Nearly five years later, Apple’s iOS is making three times the revenue as leading handheld consoles, such as the PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Sony Ericsson Xperia.
According to a study published by IDC and App Annie, iOS revenue has been increasing while handheld consoles and game developers have seen a decrease in revenue. This suggests handheld gaming consoles are no longer as attractive to consumers as the tablets and smartphones out on the market. The iPad and iPhone are more attractive to consumers, mainly because it allows them to access their email, the web, as well as social networks and games. Android has also seen an increase alongside iOS because Google Play has seen an influx in games being developed for the platform.
Sony and Nintendo—which manufacture some of the world’s most popular gaming consoles—have noted for the first time in many years that their holiday season wasn’t as busy as in past years. Normally, the holiday quarter is a very popular time for consumers to purchase gaming consoles as gifts. However, with Apple’s iPhone and iPad (as well as Android devices) now considered a reasonable gaming option for consumers, Nintendo and Sony are seeing decreased revenue.
The report from App Annie also noted that during Q1 2013, the number of worldwide handheld consoles sold came out to only 200 million units, while smartphone and tablet units for the year are expected to come out to more than 2 billion units. It is unclear if Nintendo and Sony will take this news and try and change their product lines to appeal to more customers, however, they do have a chance to move away from producing devices strictly for the purpose of playing games. If Sony revamps their line of smartphones—such as the Xperia—to run console games, then perhaps they can compete against iOS and Android and retake some of the revenue taken away by smartphones.