Smartphones overtake handhelds in mobile gaming

Mobile gamers are much more likely to be doing it on a smartphone instead of a handheld console, according to a new study by analytics firm Flurry.

Back in 2009 no one would have predicted that the relatively small 19 per cent stake that smartphones had in the mobile gaming market would increase to the near 60 per cent hold it has today.

Such has been the rise of smartphone gaming that the Nintendo DS - one of the most successful consoles ever - accounts for just 30 per cent of mobile gaming, down from 70 per cent two years ago.

It isn't the only handheld to have suffered, either. Sony's PSP once accounted for 11 per cent of the mobile gaming audience in the US. Now that figures is closer to six per cent.

Not all of the change comes from users swicthing from one gaming system to another - much of it comes from an increase in the size of the overall market. The growth of mobile gaming has been fuelled by a recent wave of social titles such as Farmville, Mafia wars and similar, as well as casual titles like Angry birds.

There has been some drop-off in handheld consoles sales, though, with both Sony and Nintendo losing 32 per cent and 36 per cent of revenue, respectively.

According to Reghardware, the market has grown nearly 25 per cent in the last year alone, with mobile games pulling in impressive revenue: going from $2.63 billion last year to $3.28 billion this year.

Some Nintendo executives have been trying to push the firm into smartphone game production, but the head of the company, Satoru Iwata has rejected calls for such a move. It seems that even with mobile gaming increasing its market share exponentially, Nintendo has much of its focus on the Wii U console, perhaps coming next year.