updated 05:05 pm EDT, Fri May 17, 2013
Mobile users spending tree times as much as portable console users
A report by market analysts App Annie and IDC continue to show that mobile devices such as the iPhone or the Nexus 7 control a clear majority of mobile gaming interest and dollars spent on purchases, with portable handhelds fading rapidly. The first quarter of 2013 saw another milestone achieved for the Android platform, with it seeing more downloads and consumer spending on games than iOS for the first time.
Revenue for game producers from smartphone-oriented was three times that of revenue from handheld consoles, though in part this is because of the seasonality of the portable console space, with sales from such devices peaking during the holidays of last year. Still, the two firms predict that mobile gaming revenues from Google Play will surpass the overall average of handheld game machines by the next quarterly report. Apple's iOS App Store surpassed revenues from handheld gamers quite some time ago.
The combined income from the App Store and Google Play from mobile games did not include advertising revenue; if it had, mobile gaming would far surpass handheld dedicated game devices. Overall, the combined Android platform has pulled slightly ahead of iOS in terms of game downloads, but the App Store still leads significantly on revenue, reinforcing the long-established conventional wisdom that iOS users are more engaged and likely to spend on games than Android users.
Mobile gaming was studied separately from other types of app interaction because the category represents some 40 percent of all downloads across the two platforms. Spending was generally up a few percentage points from the holiday season, a surprising finding that was led by increased spending in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, which includes China, Japan and Korea.
The Google Play store saw significant growth in the APAC region in Q1, particularly in Korea and Japan. Game revenues from the region showed 10.5 percent growth in Q1, with handheld consoles gaining 11.6 percent. App Store revenue was essentially flat.
Overall, the study revealed that while Android has caught up to iOS in terms of the number of mobile gamers, average revenue per user and engagement levels -- two vital analytics that developers depend on -- still belong to Apple.