IDC: Consumers spending more on iOS, Android games than handheld titles

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Consumer spending on mobile games optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android combined to eclipse spending on handheld titles published for the Sony PSP and Nintendo 3DS platforms during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a new report issued by research firm IDC and mobile analytics firm App Annie.

"While the most popular games and their business models are quite distinct, Nintendo and Apple were surprisingly close in terms of aggregate consumer spend on game software in the fourth quarter of 2012," said Lewis Ward, IDC's gaming research manager.

Source: App Annie

The findings are somewhat surprising given that prices for new handheld games average $40 each (compared to free and 99 cent-priced iOS and Android games) and because handheld sales typically peak during the holiday season. IDC and App Annie note that close to 60 percent of fourth-quarter consumer spending on Nintendo and Sony handheld gaming software took place in December, a far larger share than was the case for App Store or Google Play game spending.

"If you rewind the clock a year you will find the dedicated handhelds were clearly ahead, and this year they are more or less tied with an edge going to Android and iOS games," Ward told BBC News. "If we fast-forward to the end of 2013, we should see a decisive edge for smartphone and tablet gaming."

Ollie Lo, App Annie's vice president of marketing, told BGR that the surge in mobile game spending is due to sales of in-app goods, led by the Japan and South Korea markets, where the increasing popularity of free-to-play fantasy and card battle games is fueling significant revenues.

Although IDC and App Annie did not attach exact dollar figures to their findings, research firm NPD Group reported earlier this month that U.S. consumers spent $14.8 billion on video game content in 2012, a year-over-year decline of 9 percent. Consumers spent $7.09 billion on physical video game and PC game software last year (a 21 percent drop from 2011) and $5.92 billion on digital games (including full game and add-on content downloads, subscriptions, mobile games and social network games), representing a 16 percent increase. Spending on used and rented games made up an additional $1.79 billion.

For more:
- read this App Annie blog entry
- read this BBC News article
- read this BGR article

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