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Mobile Games Level-up as ‘Physical’ Games Sales for PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS Suffer

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Game downloads for mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone and tablets like the Apple iPad have now overtaken ‘physical’ games sales on dedicated handheld platforms including the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, showing the shift in gaming trends thanks to the widespread use of powerful pocket devices.

A rise in downloads during October and December 2012 shows that Android and iOS are becoming the preferred platforms for on the move gamers, with prices of playable content starting from free (usually ad supported, like Angry Birds) up to around £5 (titles like FIFA 13) on Google Play and the App Store respectively.

The ease of downloading a game any time and any place and the high fees requested by the serious gaming companies leads more and more casual gamers to reach in their pocket for a mobile game than fork out up to £45 for a PS Vita game in physical format. The fact that this was recorded during the pre-Christmas gift buying period make this news even more noteworthy.

Out of the two leading mobile platforms it was found that Apple’s iOS topples Android with three and a half times the revenue earned on games for iPhone and iPad compared to those on Google gadgets.

With a new PS Vita and ‘PlayStation phone’ akin to the Xperia Play rumoured for later in the year, we have to wonder if Sony will consider making more of its games and content download-only, cutting the costs of physically manufacturing games.

On the other side of the coin, Nintendo’s Worldwide President Satoru Iwata has previously been outspoken about downloadable content and the mobile gaming movement, even prompting a Facebook protest in favour of ‘Nintendo Go Mobile’ but Iwata has since allowed his company to make a more forward push into the era of digital downloads, if at least on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.