According to a report by the International Data Corporation, the number of paying customers on smartphone and tablet platforms will surpass those on gaming handhelds in 2013. IDC believes that the number of Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita bundles will continue to fall at an average rate of 7 percent year-over-year through 2017. The market intelligence firm still expects handhelds to lead in average revenue per user.
During same period, the number of paying customers on smartphones and tablets is expected to "rise at a rapid rate."
"Android remains quite fragmented but the platform is on its way to becoming a massively popular gaming platform in Asia/Pacific in particular," said IDC research manager Lewis Ward. "In order for Nintendo's and Sony's gaming-optimized handhelds to remain ahead of smartphones and tablets on key metrics such as ARPU, these companies and their game card developer and publisher partners will have to redouble their efforts in a number of respects."
"Digital distribution has reached an inflection point in mobile and portable gaming, and future success will largely boil down to finding a unique balance of freemium business model excellence and that ability to deliver compelling social experiences."
IDC expects total mobile/handheld revenue to approach $23 billion in 2017. The full IDC report, entitled Worldwide Gaming-Optimized Handheld, Smartphone, and Tablet Gaming 2013-2017 Forecast, is available here.
[Image via Anchel]