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Friday, October 21, 2011

One Final Reason Why Standalone Handheld Devices Are Here To Stay

There's one final reason that standalone handheld gaming devices are here to stay.

5) A different market. My wife loves her iPod Touch, and my sister-in-law loves her's too. They use it all the time and have a great time getting apps and trying out different functions on them.

My sister-in-law plays a lot of games on it, but if you would ask her if she was a gamer, she would probably respond that videogames are dumb and she doesn't waste her time with them right before she goes back to play Cut The Rope for two hours. My wife would also say the same thing before she spends hours playing Bookworm.

If I ask them to play a game on the DS or even the Wii, they'll scoff because "those are too hard." If they really try one of them, they find that it's not too hard at all, but there's still that perception that it's too difficult and they can't do it.

To be sure, the iOS and Android market is eating into Nintendo and Sony's handheld market share to some extent, but it may not be as widespread as you think. Sometimes, we end up seeing some rather misleading graphs that could make us think one thing instead of the other.

For instance, take a look at these two hypothetical pie charts. They're both in percentages. Which chart shows the fewest amount of DS and PSP users?





It's obvious, right? It's the second graph! However, percentages don't tell the whole story. In the first graph, we've worked the figures so that there are 1,000 people in our sample size. In the second graph, there are 2,000 people. Here's how that breaks down in a bar chart:

Data used for the first pie chart
Data used for the second pie chart
The percentages work out exactly the same, but the amount of gamers has changed. We're not seeing a decrease in one market, but an increase in another which skews the percentages. "Percentage of decrease" isn't always a good indicator of how healthy the system is doing. We need more data to see whether or not the market for the DS, PSP and 3DS is shrinking. Fortunately, we have this:
"Android was listed as the best-selling smartphone platform worldwide in Q4 2010 by Canalys with over 190 million Android devices in use by October 2011." - Source

"Recorded sales have been growing steadily thereafter, and by the end of fiscal year 2010, a total of 73.5 million iPhones were sold... Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the U.S. alone. ... Over 1 million 4S models were sold in the first 24 hours after its release in October 2011." - Source

Now, consider this: Even with the staggering amount of Android and iOS devices being sold and currently in use, most people STILL prefer to do their gaming on a standalone gaming device. Now, tell me that doesn't count for something.