For the first time ever, the amount of money spent on gaming content on iOS devices has overtaken the expenditure on traditional portable gaming systems, according to the App Annie & IDC Portable Gaming Report 2013.


The data shows that as downloads from the iOS App Store and Google Play have increased from the final quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, spending on Gaming-optimised handhelds has dramatically declined. Consumer spending on Google Play is still below that of traditional handhelds, but the report states that this is likely to change by the next financial quarter.

Tablet and Smartphones to overtake handheld gaming products

This trend has further been supported by a study from the International Data Corporation (IDC), which predicts that in 2013 tablet and smartphone games will overtake the sales of handheld products. “The reality is that the gaming-optimised handhelds from Nintendo and Sony will have to work hard to differentiate and remain ahead of smartphones and tablets on key metrics,” said Lewis Ward, the Research Manager at IDC.

Smartphone game graph

The revenue generated per user for handheld gaming devices will still remain higher than that of their mobile and tablet equivalents though, as players who choose to access game titles through mobile platforms are much less willing to spend large amounts of money on the products. However, as smartphones are set to sell 1 billion units worldwide this year coupled with the fact that around 93% of mobile users are willing to pay for their game downloads, according to, it seems that the gaming platform is changing.

More mobile gaming markets emerge

Gaming operators and developers are finding more opportunities in the mobile market now than ever before. describes the move to mobile applications as financially beneficial for online casino brands, whilst Dr Richard Wilson, the CEO of TIGA has praised the industry for offering a more profitable market for UK game companies. “There are few barriers to entry in the mobile and tablet market,” he said. “The cost of game development on these platforms is relatively low and it is comparatively straightforward for developers to update game content.”

mobile gaming

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the traditional handheld gaming industry, as the App Annie report explains that the “significant decreases in consumer spending and packaged game shipments [are] due to seasonality.” The App Store and Google Play are unaffected by this seasonality, and therefore enjoy a steady stream of year round game downloads. With the launch of new consoles, such as Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 hitting shelves at the end of this year, sales in handheld titles should experience improvement over this period.