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Smartphones rocket past consoles for mobile game sales

Way more spent on Android, iOS than DS, PSP

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Two years ago, Nintendo's handheld games consoles accounted for 70 per cent of the money made selling mobile games to Americans. This year, they will account for a little over a third of the total.

So says Flurry, a company that tracks sales of mobile games. The cause of Nintendo's plunging market share: Android and iOS.

Back in 2009, smartphone game sales on those two platforms combined amounted to 19 per cent of the market. Now it's 58 per cent. Revenues have nearly quadrupled, rising from $500m in 2009 to $1.9bn in 2011, Flurry said.

Sony's PlayStation Portable has lost out too. In 2009, it accounted for 11 per cent of the US mobile game market. This year, its share is down to six per cent.

Of course, the market is 24.7 per cent bigger this year, with total mobile games revenues rising from $2.63bn to $3.28bn.

That means sales of Nintendo-oriented mobile games have fallen from $1.84bn to $1.18bn, a decline of 36 per cent. Likewise, Sony PSP game sales are down from $289.3m to $196.8m, a drop of 32 per cent, according to Flurry's numbers.

Bear in mind too that Android and iOS generally cost significantly less than PSP and DS titles, so behind those revenue figures lies an even greater disparity in unit sales.

Flurry's figures are based on estimates made for the final two months of 2011, but it's hard to see its figures changing significantly, even if Nintendo and/or Sony have a bumper Christmas.

Sony hopes next year's PSP Vita will win back games sales from smartphones. ®

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