This IDC Survey aims at sharpening the use cases and spending pattern differences across the three main technical branches of portable gaming: smartphones, tablets, and handheld game consoles. It's been clear for years that smartphone and tablet game popularity has overtaken that of traditional gaming handhelds, but a question has remained in terms of whether handhelds continue to attract a sustainable base of core gamers. The survey results imply that Nintendo and Sony can remain important market players if they focus their efforts in a few key areas that have historically distinguished these platforms from the types of gaming experiences delivered by iOS- and Android-based devices, and if they keep push the envelope in terms of sophisticated social gameplay.
"iPads are the clear platform market leader in tablet space, but Android-based phones are giving iPhones a run for their gaming dollar in the United States today," says Lewis Ward, IDC's research director of gaming. "It's nevertheless fair to say that Nintendo's and Sony's handheld game consoles outperform among young gamers and have strong monetization dynamics if considered on a per-gamer basis."