Nintendo DS Losing Ground to Smartphone Gaming


If Nintendo wasn’t already afraid of the effects smartphones would have on the handheld gaming market, a new report from Flurry Analytics should have them shaking in their boots. According to the report, the Nintendo DS slipped from a 70 percent share in 2009 down to a 57 percent share in 2010 while the combined forces of Android and iOS grew to make up 34 percent of the handheld gaming market in 2010.

Even with the generally warm reception of the Nintendo 3DS, this new set of data further confirms the threat that smartphone gaming poses to the conventional handheld market. Multi-puprose hardware, cheaper software, and a greater selection of casual titles go directly against the model Nintendo has developed with their proprietary hardware and pricey game cartridges. Nintendo isn’t dumb to the notion, however. The manufacturer has at least acknowledged that companies like Apple could become a greater challenge in the market than traditional rivals like Sony and Microsoft.

[via CNET]

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  1. Wow never thought Phones could take away from dedicated mobile gaming. In the future if your electronic cant make a Call/text/tweet/post its not worth buying.

    1. Yeah. I prefer to game on a DS but it’s just another piece of hardware to carry around. It’s pretty much the same reason I don’t carry my camera anymore. My phone takes pretty good pics.

  2. crap lol. and i just bought a 3DS too

  3. Real gamers own some form of gaming console. Casual gamers are more likely to play games exclusively on their phones.

    *hugs his 3DS*

    1. Ya know, it’s something of a pet peeve of mine when people say that a “real” (insert title here) behaves a certain way. I wasn’t aware that (outside of much of G4’s programming) there are “fake” gamers. A lot of people, for example, could allege that a “real” gamer doesn’t play on handhelds meant for children, that instead a “real” gamer plays on a 360/PS3. Now, that’s total crap of course, but it feels like I’ve heard it 10 million times. Can we lay off the “real” X comments, please?

      1. Also, pick up Zenonia 1, Zenonia 2, or Illusia and tell me that they don’t feel exactly lack quality SNES games from back in the silver age of gaming

        1. I have both Z1 and Z2, and they do ooze SNES quality. I’m not saying that phone games don’t, but people who consider themselves “gamers” aren’t only gaming on their smartphones.

          1. Fair enough. I can’t disagree. I’ve owned every console since the NES (excluding the Gamecube, and I regret the WII)

          2. You really should give the Wii a chance. It has some good software for a good price. Muramasa, A Boy and His Blob, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Rune Factory Frontier…that’s just naming a few. I have 55 games for my Wii, and I’ve only regretted purchasing a couple of them.

      2. Real gamers play on a PC with mouse and keyboard. But no true Scotsman would do such a thing :)

        1. This was true about 5-10 years ago, when they actually still made PC games…

          1. That would be funny if it were true, but as is, you’ve come off as rather naive.

      3. Well pet peeve or not, there is a grain of truth in the saying. It’s not so much “real” vs “fake” as it is avid gamers vs casual gamers. An avid or “real” gamer is going to have at least a console and more than likely a handheld as well. A casual gamer may have gone their entire life without ever playing a game until they got a smartphone.

        1. I’m something of an old soul I suppose, but once upon a time, those who could stomp anyone at Pacman or Galaga were “real gamers.” Sure, times change. Portal replaces Pacman and Ikaruga replaces Galaga. Still….don’t knock the “casual” games. They serve the purpose of games better than a lot of noncasual titles. I love Ninja Gaiden, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to have my ass handed to me repeatedly. So I’ll pick up my phone, fire up Game Dev Story or Leave Devil Alone. Console games have become more about a sense of achievement than fleeting enjoyment.

          1. Oh I don’t knock them at all. I look at them a little differently. I see casual games like a gateway drug to the heavier stuff. I’ve got Angry Birds, Game Dev Story, WordFeud and enjoy all of them as much as I enjoyed Suikoden or Ninja Gaiden.

            My problem with this whole argument (which used to crop up between pc gamers and console gamers) is that iDevices and Androids aren’t true gaming systems. Yes, they play games, and some are very amazing but it doesn’t have the same impact or feel as a device made explicitly for games. When I can N.O.V.A. for 6 hours on my iPod the same way I can play any game on my DS without the battery dying then they might be onto something.

            I think “real” gamers understand this.

    2. You call the DS real gaming? Most of the games nintendo is pushing out I find are just remakes (or done to death), and quite frankly are gimmicky. (the whole touch screen/motion sensing thing. Developers were trying too hard to make us of them).

      “Hardcore” gaming is defined by the games.

  4. Imagine an android phone with xperia play controls and 3D screen like the EVO 3D. That could offer so much more than the Nintendo.

    1. In Hardware of course, but you would never get the Franchises that make Nintendo Consoles, Nintendo Consoles

  5. Based on just these numbers Nintendo doesn’t have to feel or do ANYTHING!
    The percentages might have changed, but unless we know the exact amounts this could go either way.
    It could mean that both nintendo and smartphones have increased their revenue, but smartphones have increased it a lot more relatively speaking, or it could mean that smartphones just increased their revenue by taking on a different market, while nintendo was unafected, it could mean that nintendo lost market share to smartphones and it could even mean that both smartphones AND nintendo lost market share, but nintendo jsut lost a bigger chunk!

    This kind of data is redundant. provide numbers with the percentages or all kinds of wild assumptions can be made!

    ps. Take that Nintendo, in your face! (Yes, I own a n64, gc and wii)

  6. The mobile games aren’t good enough to justify caring around both a cell phone and a large nintendo DS.

    I’m happy with using my phone for games while I’m not at home.

  7. Last month was Nintendo’s best month ever. They sold through over a million consoles. I think this is more an expansion of the gaming sphere than an erosion of Nintendo’s base.

  8. phone games tend to be hit or miss, but i find them different beasts all together. Some sorts of games do fine on a touchscreen, like Strategy games, and turned based RPGs. but games that have more button combos and quick button mashing like fighting games and platformers tend to be awful.

  9. The charts are tilted by default. The numbers from 2010 compare the DS (a 5 year old system on it’s way out) to a couple of on fire smart phone OS. That is not a fair comparison. Ninty has nothing to worry about..they are true game innovators.

  10. I can see the dedicated gaming portable market shrinking, but only for Nintendo and not Sony. Nintendo relies heavily on casual gamers, and less so nostalgic Nintendo fans who love Mario and Zelda. This is also true for the Wii, where the attach rate (games sold per console) is abysmal and most third party game makers have jumped ship because it is extremely rare to even break a million units. The casual market is a rough one. People aren’t willing to pay that much and will make due with simple games and portability/convenience. The biggest factor are the controls, and hardcore gamers are the ones who care about physical controls, so the NGP won’t do too shabby with its focused aim at the hardcore with its games and hardware, whereas the casual market is being swallowed by smartphones. Smartphones should have no effect on home consoles, besides the Wii of course, unless the Wii 2 becomes decidedly less casual and more gamer-centric. No one is gonna play a round of Modern Warfare 2 on a 3.5″ screen with touch controls. That’s just silly.

  11. It may loose even more in the coming two years!!..

  12. How about the fact that everyone and their mother owns a DS, and the system is on it’s, what, 7th year? Of course sales are going to slow! That coupled with the fact that Nintendo’s new handheld just launched means that these numbers are completely what should be expected. Oh, and there really hasn’t been a good DS game for a while (save Okamiden), but give the 3DS a year or two and things will change again.

    1. Hahaha, this is about software revenue, not hardware revenue.

      If everyone had one and actually used one (I got a DS in my closet that I haven’t used in years), software sales wouldn’t be declining.

      The days of dedicated gaming machines will soon be over shadowed by smartphones and tablets.

      Remember when PC games started to become mostly ports because the focus was with consoles. That will happen to consoles with tablets.

      1. No, because most people who aren’t serious gamers buy software when they first get the system, then forget about it over time (like the one sitting in your closet). With less new buyers, this means less initial software sales. I agree that smartphones will certainly take a portion of the portable gaming market, but dedicated handhelds should still be around for a while. I mean, phones have been able to play MP3s for years now, but iPods still sell like crazy.

  13. I really hope this stupid trend ends very soon. Phone gaming is encouraging companies to make sub-par 5 minute games with absolutely no content or fun and sell it to gullible people for $5, and somehow sell millions.

  14. I think There is a difference between A device for Gaming and a Device that also runs Games, I love many games on my iOS and Android devices, But sincerely they don’t compare with the Many games and Franchises that I love from Nintendo and Sony Handhelds

  15. Not sure if anyone’s already stated this, but there are a lot more people with cell phones than handheld gaming devices…

  16. Used to own 3 nintendo DS for my kids (including numerous game cartridges), but now it has been replaced by IPOD Touch. This goes for most their friends. Nitendo need to wake up if they don’t want to loose any more shares.

  17. Touch Screen devices suck for gaming

  18. The day the real game creators give up making good games for piss-poor “on rails” gaming is the day the second end of gaming begins.

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  20. Nintendo will likely follow sony into android space for a piece of the new pie.

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