Mobile phone gaming makes more money than portable consoles

Flurry Analytics announced Wednesday that revenue from games on mobile phones, such as iOS and Android devices, has surpassed the combined revenue of more traditional portable consoles like the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable for the first time. Since 2009, mobile phone game revenue has tripled from approximately 20% market share to a projection of almost 60% in 2011, mainly at the expense of Nintendo.


Credit: Flurry Analytics

Games on Apple and Android platforms are projected to earn $1.9 billion in the USA this year, compared to Sony and Nintendo's combined $1.4 billion. Flurry calculated $2.7 billion in total U.S. portable game revenue for 2009, $2.5 billion for 2010, and $3.3 billion for 2011. In those years, game revenue from iOS and Android platforms combined to $500 million, $800 million and $1.9 billion in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. This large jump stands in stark contrast to the combined revenue for Nintendo and Sony in those years, totaling $2.2 billion, $1.6 billion and $1.4 billion for 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.

According to Flurry Analytics, the main contributor to this huge growth is the freemium business model that's become the forerunning method for driving revenue in mobile phone games. Consumers are obviously responding positively to free or $0.99 games that include microtransactions for unlocking more game content, opposed to the old traditional price model of $30-$40 games on the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation and their subsequent iterations. The cool consumer acceptance of Nintendo's struggling 3DS is surely not helping matters for traditional portable consoles.

Flurry notes that while the rise of mobile phones in the portable gaming space is of grave concern for Nintendo and Sony, of equal concern to these companies is that Apple and Google are both entering the TV battlefield as well - a market currently dominated by home consoles backed by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. It might be hard right now to imagine a future where Apple and Google platforms have gained a strong footing in living rooms, but as the data from portable gaming has shown, the future can change very quickly.

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41 Comments

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Well, everyone have a cellphone, but not everyone have a PSP or a DS. No surprise here. Tell me when the mobile phone gaming gets bigger than consoles gaming.

FilipeCR said,
Well, everyone have a cellphone, but not everyone have a PSP or a DS. No surprise here. Tell me when the mobile phone gaming gets bigger than consoles gaming.

Not everyone has a smartphone.

Not surprised. People spending money on the crap that is mobile games, that cost very little to make. Looking over the iOS and Android list of popular apps makes my almost want to hurl. Are people really that careless about quality and money?

x-byte said,
Not surprised. People spending money on the crap that is mobile games, that cost very little to make. Looking over the iOS and Android list of popular apps makes my almost want to hurl. Are people really that careless about quality and money?

Let me guess you use Windows Phone or are a Microsoft Fanboy that still defending single-core processors on Windows Phone?

x-byte said,
Are people really that careless about quality and money?

Some people would say the same thing about owning a Wii like the one you're showing off in your profile picture. Touché?

UndergroundWire said,

Let me guess you use Windows Phone or are a Microsoft Fanboy that still defending single-core processors on Windows Phone?

I don't think so, because I have a Galaxy S II myself and honestly, many of these "top" games really aren't worth buying.

Coi said,

I don't think so, because I have a Galaxy S II myself and honestly, many of these "top" games really aren't worth buying.

By your opinion. They are top games for a reason. Just saying.

Manish said,

Some people would say the same thing about owning a Wii like the one you're showing off in your profile picture. Touché?

Goddamn sir, I think that's what one would call "ownage"? lol!

They shouldn't even call them "Phones" anymore, what we have now are "Digital Assistants". I means seriously, when being a "Phone" is just ONE of the functions why are we still stuck thinking of them as such. GPS, Phone, Gaming System, Internet Portal, MP3 Player, Video Player, etc....

Not to be captain obvious, but it SHOULD go without saying that more people own something they carry with them everywhere that is capable of playing games. These same people spend countless hours waiting in various places... so whats gonna happen when they get bored? They are gonna whip out their "phone" and play a game, and if they dont have a game, they are gonna find one and buy it, especially if its cheaper then a meal at McDonalds.

There will always be a place for "Dedicated" handheld consoles, but I see that market being driven more towards "Kids" in the future. As an adult I cant/wont be bother to carry around a DS/3DS/PsP/etc.. but I will always have my "Smart Phone" with me. If I'm at home I would rather play a game on a console with better capabilities then any handheld could ever muster. So why would I own/buy a handheld gaming system?

Eventually Nintendo will figure this out and stop making new handhelds and move all their games to Smart Phones, or start making "Cheaper" more kid targeted handhelds.

But...but... according to WP7 fanboys who defend the way out of date specs, no one wants to game on their phones anyway!!

JPXi said,
But...but... according to WP7 fanboys who defend the way out of date specs, no one wants to game on their phones anyway!!

What's your favorite phone game?

JPXi said,
But...but... according to WP7 fanboys who defend the way out of date specs, no one wants to game on their phones anyway!!

And when was that ever said? Or are you refering to discussions re dual cores and not needing to run GTA on your mobile, if so well done on missing the point....

JPXi said,
But...but... according to WP7 fanboys who defend the way out of date specs, no one wants to game on their phones anyway!!

+1

Haha first thing I thought when I saw this header was all the WP fanboys saying, "who games on their phone anyway?" as an excuse for WP devices having such terrible specs

Cash Money Billionaire said,

+1

Haha first thing I thought when I saw this header was all the WP fanboys saying, "who games on their phone anyway?" as an excuse for WP devices having such terrible specs

Those fanboys see at as "Oh, Android needs Quad-core for their OS and Windows Phone works great on a single-core" but miss the point on why those specs are coming to those phones.

JPXi said,
But...but... according to WP7 fanboys who defend the way out of date specs, no one wants to game on their phones anyway!!

I've never used WP7, but since when is single core = way outdated? And I've never seen anyone saying you shouldn't game on a phone..

Please link those discussions where people talking about WP7 have said few people game on their phones. (And I'd rather not *need* an overly powerful bit of hardware to run my games, cause it'll likely just mean I can't play them for as long).

Kirkburn said,
Please link those discussions where people talking about WP7 have said few people game on their phones. (And I'd rather not *need* an overly powerful bit of hardware to run my games, cause it'll likely just mean I can't play them for as long).

It's not you needing it. It's the platform that needs it. Who cares what you think you need. The other person will say they "need" it. If they can't find their media consumption in that platform, they'll go to the next one. No big deal right?

Kirkburn said,
Media existence is determined by ability to run on a platform, not whether users think it will run.

And obviously it runs. The difference is how much detail you want in your games is determined by the platforms technology. You can have a single-core processor and I'm sure it will play the original Mario game fine. You have a quad-core processor, then you can start seeing games with shadows, depth, lighting, etc. The world is going mobile, if you don't thinks so, then you need to reevaluate this entire conversation. Will consumers want more from their mobile devices? Absolutely.

UndergroundWire said,
You can have a single-core processor and I'm sure it will play the original Mario game fine. You have a quad-core processor, then you can start seeing games with shadows, depth, lighting, etc.

Honestly I think you're putting far too much emphasis on the number of cores as being the determining factor for this. It's not like PS2 games required it.

UndergroundWire said,
The world is going mobile, if you don't thinks so, then you need to reevaluate this entire conversation. Will consumers want more from their mobile devices? Absolutely.

I have no doubt this is true.

Blackhearted said,
So the large majority of people don't care about quality? Yea, that's not news. Just look at the american music industry.

Actually with Dual-Core and Quad-core technology on mobile phones, the quality of games is getting a lot better. Or maybe I should say at least for Android and iOS because WP7 is still stuck at single-core technology and nobody really cares about Blackberry.

Microsoft needs to catchup real quick if they want a piece of that pie.

Blackhearted said,
So the large majority of people don't care about quality? Yea, that's not news. Just look at the american music industry.

I care about quality, but when I'm on the go, I'm on the go. I don't have time to sit and get immersed in a story while I'm waiting at a doctor's office or what have you. I like to play something fun and quick, and when it comes to the DS, you're going to spend at least $20 for these types of games, many of which are complete garbage. Yes, I've bought a few bad games for iOS too, but those purchases still don't match the price of even ONE bad game I've bought for the DS.

I save real gaming for my PC, where I can still get better games cheaper with Steam than my DS.

UndergroundWire said,

Actually with Dual-Core and Quad-core technology on mobile phones, the quality of games is getting a lot better. Or maybe I should say at least for Android and iOS because WP7 is still stuck at single-core technology and nobody really cares about Blackberry.

Microsoft needs to catchup real quick if they want a piece of that pie.


Simply increasing the power wont magically make things like angry birds into the most amazing game you've ever played. Also, adding more cpu's still wont fix the "controls are non-existent" issue that plagues phones.

dead.cell said,

I care about quality, but when I'm on the go, I'm on the go. I don't have time to sit and get immersed in a story while I'm waiting at a doctor's office or what have you. I like to play something fun and quick, and when it comes to the DS, you're going to spend at least $20 for these types of games, many of which are complete garbage. Yes, I've bought a few bad games for iOS too, but those purchases still don't match the price of even ONE bad game I've bought for the DS.

I save real gaming for my PC, where I can still get better games cheaper with Steam than my DS.

Actually, if you're sitting and waiting for the doctor to come in the room, you've got more than enough time to get immersed in a game. As they like to take their freakin time.

As for the bit about buying a bad ds game.. Well to be brutally honest with ya, you have noone but yourself to blame if you buy a game without doing any looking to see if it's even any good or if you'd like it.

Blackhearted said,

Simply increasing the power wont magically make things like angry birds into the most amazing game you've ever played. Also, adding more cpu's still wont fix the "controls are non-existent" issue that plagues phones.

Who said anything about existing games? I never said that. So would you still argue that having more CPUs is not beneficial to the FUTURE OF GAMING?

UndergroundWire said,
So would you still argue that having more CPUs is not beneficial to the FUTURE OF GAMING?
Beneficial, but not necessary.

I said more power is beneficial. Just not *neccessary*. Good games do not *require* good computers - they're two different things.

Show me a good game on a "bad" computer. Otherwise, just keep quiet. You obviously have no idea what we are talking about here. Take your naive theories elsewhere.

Wow, you're being amazingly insulting.

I just don't understand why you're apparently defining 'bad' as not being multicore. Games never used to require multicore to be judged good, nor do they all *require* it now. Minecraft, WoW, and many other games do not rely on swishy effects to be incredibly popular.

Are there any good touch games? Like something actually compelling, and not just some 99 cent whack-a-mole game.

There's plenty of decent touch games. To name but a few: Final Fantasy 1-3, Infinity Blade, Real Racing 1-2, The Sims 3, CoD: Zombies, board game ports like Monopoly and Scrabble, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Rage, Splinter Cell Conviction, Prince of Persia, Mirror's Edge, Gangstar, 9mm. I'm guessing you've never looked in the App Store or Android Market?

Even the sports games are good like Tiger Woods Golf and Madden.. Needless to say there are tons of good games aside from 'whack-a-mole'

Is this a surprise at all? Seems like a waste of time, of course mobiles are used more, you can't buy games for portable consoles for 99cents.