Data & Research

Handhelds in decline as smartphones snap up 44% of the portable gaming space

Handhelds in decline as smartphones snap up 44% of the portable gaming space
If Michael Pachter was looking for any numbers to back up his view that handheld gaming is in decline, Interpret's latest report detailing use across the portable spectrum would probably do the trick.

The firm's survey of 9,000 consumers in the US suggests that, not only is interest in mobile gaming on the rise, it's also causing existing handheld owners to leave their consoles gathering dust.

Trading spaces

Interpret's figures state that 43.8 percent of the portable gaming market now use a phone to play games on – a rise of more than 53 percent over the course of the year.

In contrast, the number of gamers who play on a DS or PSP has fallen by 13 percent.

More worryingly for the likes of Nintendo and Sony, the report also claims that more than 27 percent of DS and PSP owners no longer play games on their respective systems, choosing to take on titles on their phones instead.

"The proliferation of highly multifunctional smartphones and messaging phones is a very real threat to the dominance by the DS and PSP of the handheld gaming market," claims Interpret manager of research and analysis, Courtney Johnson.

"Devices which satisfy a variety of entertainment and utility are fast outstripping single-function devices as consumer favourites."

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Interpret's report by no means sits on its own.

Back in March, Flurry also concluded that revenue generated by smartphone games was eating into the handheld market – iPhone in particular cited as the main aggressor.

The firm claimed both iPhone and iPod touch commanded a 19 percent of all game software revenue in the US in 2009 – a 14 percent rise based on 2008's figures.

You can view more excerpts from Interpret's report over on the firm's website.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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