This IDC study forecasts demand for gaming-optimized handhelds, such as the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Vita, from a hardware bundle and packaged and digital game software perspective through 2017. It also forecasts smartphone and tablet game software sales through 2017, with some consideration given to the specifics of iOS, Android, and other operating system and distribution platforms. Regional breakdowns include North America, Western Europe, Asia/Pacific (Japan and APEJ), and a combined rest of the world region. Key metrics tracked are gamers, gaming device installed bases, hardware and software ASPs, ARPU, and total hardware and software revenue.
"Android is extremely fragmented but also on its way to becoming a critical mobile/portable gaming platform," says Lewis Ward, research manager of IDC's Gaming service. "The reality is that the gaming-optimized handhelds from Nintendo and Sony will have to work hard to differentiate and remain ahead of smartphones and tablets on key metrics such as ARPU. The digital transition inflection point has arrived in mobile and portable gaming industry, and mastering the freemium business model will be crucial to future success."