With the recent release of Apple’s iOS7 updates and ever advancing gaming experiences on smartphone and tablet devices, handheld gaming offerings from companies such as Sony and Nintendo are under threat.
A recent report released by App Annie and IDC found that mobile games available on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms are generating four times the amount of revenue than game titles for Nintendo and Sony’s handheld console releases combined.
British players are also spending more time and money on mobile gaming, with research analysts comScore predicting that 20 million UK mobile users play games every month, with 6.2 million playing on their mobile devices daily. According to HIS Screen Digest, the UK is expected to spend nearly £300 million on mobile game titles this year alone.
In reaction to this, large gaming firms are directing their products towards the mobile platform. Online sites such as MoneyGaming are launching mobile compatible sites, while large traditional game publishers refocus their attention on this new trend. Electronic Arts, which produces popular franchises such as FIFA and The Sims, made £7.7 million and £5.8 million from Sony and Nintendo handheld devices respectively. In comparison, the company’s mobile revenues reached £72.6 million.
With such rapid growth in the industry, UK game developers are starting to find much better opportunities in the production of app games as opposed to titles for traditional consoles. TIGA, the UK game industry body discovered that 37% of game studios in Britain were primarily focused on mobile game development, which is a massive 19% rise since 2010. Furthermore, 53% of all studios founded in 2011 and 2012 were producing mobile products.
TIGA’s Chief Executive, Dr Richard Wilson is more positive about the boom in mobile gaming, saying: “It’s not a brain drain away from the [traditional] industry. I’d argue that if these developers weren’t making mobile games, they wouldn’t be making games full stop. It’s more an expansion of the market.”
He continued: “Whilst yes, there is a threat to Sony’s and Nintendo’s handheld business, the rise of mobile – Android and iOS games – can also be seen as a new opportunity for new developers, something that overall makes the market bigger.”