games industry games publishing iphone

Gamers play on iPhone instead of hand-held consoles

Even if you own a Nintendo DS or a Sony PlayStationPortable, there’s a high chance you’re playing games on your phone instead:

“27.2% of consumers who indicate that they play games on their phones only (and not on the DS/PSP) actually own a DS or PSP, but do not actively use the device(s).”

Admittedly, it’s a terrible, amateurish statistic – it’s missing the REAL stats that we need to corroborate the concept – but the report is pay-for, so I can’t look that up.

Still, assuming the report isn’t woelfully misrepresented, it’s a seriously big proportion who own yet have given up on their Nintendos and Sonys. Now compare that with all the people who haven’t forked out the hundreds-of-dollars to buy one yet: how much harder is it going to be to grab them?

Snapshot: But… is it worth publishing on iPhone?

Are there enough consumers purchasing games on iPhone to make it worth it?

(NB: this is an ultra-quick analysis, based on the various stats and info I’ve read recently – if you want references you’ll have to pay someone, or google it all yourself)

As of Dec 2010, approx:

  1. 140m DS
  2. 60m PSP
  3. 120m iPhones
  4. …approx 20m-40m iPhones “owned by under 30s” (many competing guesses in this area)

Given that iPhone has two of the top 5 slots on children’s Xmas wishlists (once as iPhone, once as iPod Touch), I’d feel confident in saying that iPhone has already overtaken PSP’s installed userbase.

Of course, iPhone app price is approx 10 times less than PSP/DS game price. But … family spending tends to be fairly constant, developers get much higher revenue share on iPhone, and cross-promotion of your own games is spectacularly successful on iPhone.

So, assuming you develop more than one game, you should be getting the same or higher revenues on iPhone games. And yet the development costs are significantly lower than on DS/PSP.

7 replies on “Gamers play on iPhone instead of hand-held consoles”

Equally, quite a few iPhones are for corporate use and their owners won’t be installing games. It’s not that simple :p

I do a lot of work with corporates, and many more of the staff have iPhones than most people realise.

However, in all but a VERY few situations, those iPhones exist outside the corporate network, and the staff can install anything they want.

It’s only the Blackberry where the corporate has the ability to block install of apps, no?

So … I’m interested in what situations there are where iPhone users aren’t allowed to install games? I often discover new games precisely from corporates, showing them off during / after business meetings :). I can’t keep up with all the games out there…

I’ve been working in Serious Gaming recently… dealing with more…hm…traditional corporations a lot, many of whom don’t understand this “internet” thing properly, and consider “games” as an equivalent to “timewasting”.

They understand this “app” thing as being a type of program, but tend to apply the same restrictions on apps on corporate phone’s as they do programs on normal PC’s.

(It’s an uphill struggle…I’ve had to go to board level at one company to get permission for their rep to install our demo on their android phone….)

Oh, not via technical means. It’s just an instant dismissal offence, like installing a game on one of their desktop PC’s would be.

Interesting about Android. I suppose Android phones are much more likely to be company-bought-and-paid-for, giving them a perfectly fair basis for draconian policies?

Unlike the iPhones – where often the phone is bought by the user, and then (at best) the company pays the monthly line rental, but calls (and iTunes) have to be paid by the user. Which makes it shaky ground for the company to impose rules on what can/cannot be installed.

(I was looking this up on HMRC site recently – UK tax allows makes it easy for companies to pay the line rental, but difficult for them to pay the call cost, without landing the employee an “extra” tax bill. So, I guess that’s why this approach is common ;))

Both iPhones and Android. In several cases they’re using iPhone enterprise, actually, but they do tend have a “standard” phone for deployment at any given time.

In all cases the phones are company-bought.

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