Google Play jumps ahead in handheld game profits – Mario packs suitcase

Perhaps it’s overdue, but the inevitable has happened. Google Play has surpassed Nintendo and Sony for game profits on their dedicated handheld consoles such as the 3DS and PSVita. The report, which comes from IDC – shows Google Play is now only behind iOS for mobile gaming.

In fact, IDC’s numbers show that funds spent in both iOS App Store and Google Play combined; account for around four times that of dedicated devices.

Sony’s situation hasn’t yet reached the critical stage; after all, the company has a next-generation home console in the works - which integrates with their handheld PSVita system – and has just announced a price cut. Both factors are likely to drive sales back up.

Nintendo however, may be advisable to book a place in the next emergency bed; the “house that Mario built” looks likely to need some CPR, or perhaps a divine miracle.

Their home console, the Wii U, has been quite widely determined as a failure. Game studios are starting to refuse to develop for the platform, and even first party titles have been slow to the release. The whole thing, quite frankly, is a disaster.

To take from a DeveloperTech article three weeks ago: “Between April and June the company sold just 160,000 hardware units; down 51.3% on the previous quarter. Compare this to Microsoft’s Xbox – nearing the release of their next console – which sold 5.9 million over the same period, and you can see the dire situation.”

The only place Nintendo was still succeeding (and still is, but for how long?) is in the handheld space; the 3DS is still a bestseller, and is being frequented with great titles including the upcoming release of the next popular Pokémon franchise.

But where else is left to turn? The only solution in the next year or so is for Nintendo to embrace the unstoppable rise of Android and iOS themselves.

What do you think about the handheld gaming market?

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