Google Play jumps ahead of Nintendo and Sony in mobile game sales

by: Andrew GrushAugust 21, 2013

Google Play Games

There was a time when mobile gaming was nearly synonymous with the word Gameboy, oh how the mighty have fallen. According to the latest report from IDC and App Annie, Google Play has now joined Apple in surpassing traditional gaming handhelds, at least in terms of dollars spent on mobile games.

Let’s be honest, is anyone that surprised? As smartphones and tablets have become more commonplace, more folks are moving away from systems like the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS in favor of cheaper mobile games.

There are currently 1.25 billion smartphones and 180 million tablets across the globe, compared to less than 200 million handheld systems. Although Nintendo 3DS and Sony Vita games are generally much more expensive than mobile gaming apps, these handheld consoles just can’t compete when it comes to the shear number of devices out there.


So what does surpassing traditional handhelds indicate for Google?

As you might already know, Google has put a lot of effort into further expanding its focus on gaming this year. Not only did Google I/O 2013 feature several sessions related to gaming, but Google also recently introduced the Google Play Games platform. Not to mention the recent popularity of Android-powered micro-consoles (though most of these devices don’t actually have Google Play support).

Usurping Sony and Nintendo’s handheld game sales might not mean much for Google in the grand scheme of things, but it could be an indication that their recent gaming efforts are already starting to pay off. The big question is whether Google can keep the momentum going and eventually surpass Apple as well.

Right now they are a long ways behind Apple when it comes to consumer game spending, but that doesn’t mean they can’t catch up. There was a time when Android was way behind Apple’s iPhone and iPad in device activations and market presence, and look at where Google’s OS stands now.

Are you surprised that Google Play has already one-upped traditional handhelds in turns of dollars earned from game sales? How much longer before Google Play surpasses Apple in the gaming world as well?

  • ffloyd

    in gaming, android has already surpassed both apple ios & handheld system.
    thanks to emulator, android have a very large selection of AAA quality games, even far surpassing all ios & handheld games combined.

    • Piyush

      what can you give example in AAA , i can give example that ios has lot of collection in gaming than android thats why i have ipad with me.

      • APai

        there’s always many sides to a story. upvotes dont mean squat. they could be an upvote for a variety of reasons that they are agreeing with the OP.

        dont get so smug about your point of view.

    • smellysnatch

      I’m an android fanboy/ user but one thing I can admit is iOS has a ton better games even with androids emulators

  • hahmed330

    Google needs to fight piracy…. After that rewards are just limitless

    • Leonardo Rojas

      Yeah. I don’t understand how it’s possible Google and recent anti piracy laws permit sites like APK Mania exist.
      They offer all kind of paid games for free. o.o
      Also, licensing is not doing its job. Google is losing money there and seems like doesn’t care.

      • Joshua

        The whole point of Android is for it to be a Open Source operating system. There are always losers who pirate, that’s just life. The reason google isn’t suing everyone is because they don’t want to come out as a company like Apple.

        • Leonardo Rojas

          It can be.

          Asphalt 8 is hours to be released n.n I’ll uninstall Asphalt 6 to install this. I just hope it’s not plagued with bugs and that works well in my Razr i :( Most do!
          Are you buying it? What smartphone do you have?

          • Joshua

            I very well might buy it. I am either going to buy the LG G2 or the Sony Z1 Honami. I have a galaxy note 10.1 tablet right now, and it is amazing. Im sure the app will work good with the Razr I. The only problem you might have is how much Asphalt wants out of the GPU, which may cause lag. Other than that i’m sure it will be a fun game :) I can not predict how many bugs though :P

          • Leonardo Rojas

            I’ll reply to you later. I’m going to be late for bed. Haha No, jk. Going to work.

          • Joshua

            Ok, have fun at work :). Do u mind me asking what you do?

          • Leonardo Rojas

            I’m a translator. I work for Compassion International.
            It’s not always fun, but it’s always rewarding.

          • Joshua

            That’s awesome!

            See you later.

        • APai

          agreed, piracy will always exist. if the price barrier is reduced according to market, and carrier billing is enabled, then it might solve a lot of issues against piracy. some apps are expensive for third world countries. nokia had it right in symbian – they had low prices for the indian market, ..anyways, that was before they lost their way.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    Smartphones are an all in one device nowadays, and even the less powerful Androids can serve quite well for gaming, plus, there are cheaper games available compared to traditional handheld consoles. So, not a surprise.
    But, what about quality? I’ve never played with a PS Vita, but, isn’t it better for gaming than smartphones because of their hardware controls and quality of games itself? O.o

    • Joshua

      Matter of opinion. Some are addicted to mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets and don’t care for the Vita.

      • Leonardo Rojas

        I’ll have to try the Vita to have an opinion then, but as its expensive I think I’d rather buy a PS3 or PS4 instead, as I already have a handheld gaming console jojojo ^-^ And my next one is going to be the Xperia Z Ultra, it can be my last one too.

        • Joshua

          Good choice ;)

  • Joshua

    CAN I GET A HELL YA??!!??

  • gimmegimmekevin

    With 1.5 million Android activations each day it is actually kinda sad that it barely surpasses both Vita/3DS/PSP/DS combined by a small margin.

    After the 3DS sells 80-100 million units in a few years will people still being saying the market is dead?

    • Piyush

      see thats the point i am talking.

    • APai

      no, it means that people on android platform are still yet to take to gaming, or buying stuff. android also has alternate markets. it also has a lot of devices selling in china.
      it can also mean that google is slow to get off the blocks, in terms of distribution, availability of games across continents, etc. also, google play isn’t on every android device out there. it may or it may not happen… but things are changing slowly. just like how android took time to become the dominant player.

  • Marcus Pereira

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    • APai

      NSA has yotabytes of storage I heard, although its a one way backup :P