Nintendo and Sony have seen their share of the mobile game software business shrink from dominance to irrelevance in just three years, according to a new report.
Mobile analytics firm Flurry published a chart, seen above, that shows the once-mighty game-hardware makers held 70 per cent of the market share in 2009, but will likely be squeezed down to just 36 per cent by the end of 2011.
They've been pushed aside by the blazingly fast growth of game apps sold for Apple's iOS-powered devices and Google's Android platform, powered by the explosion in the number of smartphone and tablet devices that run the U.S. companies' software.
"Combined, iOS and Android game revenue delivered $500-million, $800-million and $1.9-billion over 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively," Flurry blogger Peter Farago writes.
In the same period revenue for games sold for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP shrank, posting "a combined $2.2-billion, $1.6-billion and $1.4-billion for 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively."
It's a stunning turnaround for the two Japanese companies, who were virtually uncontested in the mobile game space for almost two decades.
"Now that people can do so much on their smart phones, will they want to buy a games machine?" said Yuuki Sakurai, president of Fukoku Capital Management in Tokyo, in relation to Nintendo's struggles.
As our Controller Freak blogger Chad Sapieha wrote in July, Nintendo paid dearly for its decision to back the "3D revolution" and has taken a bath on its Nintendo 3DS portable devices. In late October Nintendo a record loss of $926-million for the first six months of its current fiscal year, and projected its first ever annual loss for the financial year.
Sony has also posted huge losses, and has said it will restructure its television division. The company is preparing to launch a more powerful version of its stand-alone PSP mobile games console, called the Playstation Vita. Whether the games-first device can compete with smart phones and tablets backed by hundreds of thousands of apps remains be seen.
With files from Reuters