IDC expects paying mobile gamers to pass paying handheld gamers this year

Smartphone and tablet gamers are ready to shell out some money in 2013 and beyond

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]

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Latest comments (6)

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games7 years ago
if only Sony could pick up its weight! i love mobile, i support where it is going, and i am even part of it, my new games are coming on mobile! but i still grab my 3DS to play games that only there can be enjoyed!
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital7 years ago
That's some interesting data... this means that the number of paying customers with mobile phones and tablets is smaller than the install base of Vita + 3DS at this moment? (99% of Vita and 3DS owners are also paying customers)
I thought that mobile was supposed to be MASS market.
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Alex Podverbny CTO & co-founder, FireVector LLC7 years ago
> I thought that mobile was supposed to be MASS market.
Yeah, right. And they talk about number of paying customer. What about money those users pay?..
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 7 years ago
99% of Vita and 3DS owners are also paying customers)
I think the article about Nintendo's profit earlier this week had some numbers - 3DS users on average buy 3-4 games. Not every smartphone user is interested in games.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
I'm assuming someone who only buys one or two 69p games is counted?
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development7 years ago
I think that most of them Andrew. It's the sheer weight of numbers that ups the big numbers.

Although over the last couple of months we've seen a noteable drop in earnings from our mobile titles, despite chart positions remaining pretty mich static. Which indicates to me that everyone is seeing less money in their tills.

Statistically irrelevant that maybe, it's definitely worrying us!
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