Smartphone, Tablet Gaming Far Outpaces Handheld Console Games

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At the end of 2014, the installed base of smartphones worldwide was about 2.2 billion. There are, in addition, more than 600 million tablets in consumers’ hands as well. More than a third of that total of more than 2.8 million portable devices are used for gaming: more than a billion in fact.

The installed base for Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Android-based devices is nearly 75% of the total worldwide installed base of smartphones and tablets. Android’s share of the market rose by 5.2 points in 2014, compared with a decline of 2.3 points for iOS devices from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and a decline of 2.8% from other platforms, such as Windows and BlackBerry.

The data come from IDC and App Annie in a new report on portable gaming. The number of smartphones and tablets in use worldwide far outnumbers the 175 million portable gaming devices in use. And the worse news for Nintendo and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is that full game software shipments and sales volumes in the fourth quarter of 2014 were down 5% year-over-year, and the installed number of devices fell by 10 million worldwide. IDC and App Annie attribute that to decreased demand for the Nintendo DS and DSi players.

Games accounted for 30% of all fourth-quarter downloads from Apple’s App Store and about 40% of all downloads from Google Play. As the chart below shows, App Store game revenue grew by more than 30% and Google Play game revenue grew by 75% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. Handheld game console software rose by just 5% for the year, and all of that came in the holiday season.

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The top-selling game at the App Store was Clash of Clans, followed by Puzzle & Dragons and Candy Crush Saga. The top three sellers at Google Play were Puzzle & Dragons, Clash of Clans and Monster Strike. Worldwide the top grossing games for the year are Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga and Puzzle & Dragons.

Other highlights from the IDC/App Annie report:

  • Game spending on both iOS and Google Play exceeded that of handheld game consoles in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • More than 80% of combined iOS and Google Play consumer app spending in the quarter came from games.
  • iOS generated about 1.9 times more revenues than Google Play games.

AppAnnie chart -Feb 2015
Source: IDC/App Annie

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