Smartphone Gaming Growing Rapidly, Nintendo DS Declining

[Updated 9:21AM PST] Flurry Analytics posted a fascinating pie chart (as fascinating as pie charts get, anyway) that illustrates the rapid growth of Android and iOS gaming, as well as the decline of Nintendo DS gaming. According to the company, Android and iOS are responsible for approximately 58 percent of U.S. portable game software revenue in 2011. This is up from 19 percent in 2009 and 34 percent in 2010. Compare this to the Nintendo DS’ 2011 software revenue, which Flurry estimates to be 36 percent of the market. This is down from 70 percent in 2009 and 57 percent in 2010.

One thing to keep in mind is that the DS is an end-of-life product and has been replaced by the 3DS. As most of you know, the console market is cyclical, so it wasn’t surprising to see DS software sales declining over the last three years. Android and iOS games are more evergreen, since they’re not tied to a specific set of hardware. Also, Flurry vice president of marketing Peter Farago made no mention of the 3DS in his blog post. I’ve reached out to the company to see if 3DS software sales were included in the overall DS figure.

Even considering the cyclical nature of consoles, the rapid growth of smartphone gaming is extremely impressive. It will be interesting to see how standalone gaming systems like the 3DS and the upcoming PlayStation Vita will perform. With smartphones and tablets becoming fantastic gaming platforms, it’s looking like the audience for specialized gaming is shrinking.

Let me know what you think of Flurry’s study on U.S. portable gaming revenue when you have a chance (please!).

Update 9:21AM PST: Flurry VP Peter Farago confirmed that the 2011 Nintendo figure includes 3DS software sales. He told me via email, “This is total Nintendo portable data, including 3DS.” Even though the 3DS stumbled out of the gate in the U.S., sales have been picking up and there are several hot games that will sell well this holiday season. In light of that, the number is even more fascinating.


Nintendo to Lose Money for the First Time Ever, 3DS Sales Up

Nintendo has announced that it expects to lose 20-billion yen (a shade under $264-million) for its fiscal year ending March 2012. Software sales are down, hardware sales are down, and the Japanese yen continues to be one of the strongest currencies in the world, which is bad news for a company that’s dependent on exports and global sales. This will be the first lost since the company started releasing its financial results in 1981.

In some positive news, worldwide sales of the Nintendo 3DS portable console have hit 6.68-million units. Considering its rough start and the fact that many pundits called it a “doomed” system, the sales are impressive. Like I’ve said in the past, I expect 3DS sales to be strong in the long run.

The exchange rate issues will continue to plague Nintendo for some time to come. There’s not much the company can do to counter that factor…outside of relocating the entire company to China and Mexico. Hmmmmm…I’m going to put a pitch together. I think I can convince at least 40 percent of Nintendo of Japan that Cabo San Lucas is where they want to be.

Skylanders Action Figures Video

Please, please, please check out this video of some of the 30+ action figures that can be used in Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures. The action figures themselves have some cool designs and the marketing copy is hilarious. Most of the action figures have tag-lines that are so silly that you have to laugh at them.

I’ve actually started my second run of the game and the main reason I’m playing it again is because it’s fun to use the action figures to swap characters. I’m positive that the game and the toys will sell like crazy this holiday season. Well played Activision. Well played.

Nintendo 3DS Getting 3D Video Capture Feature in November

Nintendo of American has announced that its 3DS portable gaming system will be getting a system update in November that adds 3D video capture. So if you want to get in touch with your inner James Cameron, get set for a killer update. Here are more details from the press release on the 3DS’ video-capture capabilities, as well as other features included in the November update.

At the end of November, a new system update will deliver a range of cool new features and enhancements, including 3D video capture, which will let users record up to 10 minutes of 3D video and enable people to create their own 3D stop-motion animation videos. The update will also add new puzzles to the StreetPass Mii Plaza and a new dungeon to Find Mii. Other features will be announced in the future.

I know that most of you are down on portable gaming and down on 3D, but I have to ask if there’s any chance you’re interested in this feature. Also, how many of you thought of the possibilities of 3D pr0n hitting the family-friendly 3DS? *snicker*

Nintendo 3DS and Wii Getting Hulu Plus By End of 2011

Nintendo of America has announced that its 3DS and Wii consoles will be getting Hulu Plus by the end of the year. The streaming video service is already available on the competing PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems. Here’s a clip from the press release…

Nintendo of America has announced that its 3DS and Wii consoles will be getting Hulu Plus by the end of the year. The streaming video service is already available on the competing PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems. Here’s a clip from the press release:

With Hulu Plus, Wii and Nintendo 3DS users will be able to instantly stream thousands of TV episodes — including the entire current season of popular shows like Modern Family, Glee, Dancing with the Stars, The Biggest Loser, House and Grey’s Anatomy — from premium content partners like ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV and many more. Hulu Plus also offers access to classic TV favorites like Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Hills and hundreds of popular and award-winning movies. Hulu Plus is available through a separate subscription fee of $7.99 per month with limited advertising.

I’m positive that all of you are going to rush out to buy a 3DS to watch The Biggest Loser. I kid, I kid. Seriously though, does the addition of Hulu Plus make the 3DS or Wii more appealing to you?

Coffee Talk #414: Skylanders — Brilliant, Evil, or Both?

I’ve started playing Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures for a review. I’m completely fascinated by the Skylanders business model. For those of you not familiar with the deal, Skylanders is an action-RPG available for most…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Lindsay Lohan’s latest mugshot, the outstanding customer service at Verve Coffee Roasters, or Bernard Hopkins getting suplexed in a boxing match, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve started playing Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures for a review. I’m completely fascinated by the Skylanders business model. For those of you not familiar with the deal, Skylanders is an action-RPG available for most videogame systems. What makes it unique is that it uses toys to enhance and unlock gameplay. The $69.99 starter kit comes with the game, the “Portal of Power” accessory that plugs into your console, and three action figures. Additional action figures can be purchased for $7.99 and up.

Now here’s the kicker: from what I’ve seen, you have to buy more toys to get everything out of the game. That’s brilliant…and possibly a little evil. So far, the game is surprisingly fun; I had low expectations for it and they have been greatly exceeded. The toys look cool. On their own, I’m not sure they’re worth $8 each or $20 for a three-pack, but considering that they unlock in-game features, they’re pragmatic as well as decorative. There are more than 30 toys, with more action figures and DLC on the way, so it’s entirely possible to spend hundreds of dollars on Skylanders…and I’m sure some kids will do just that.

Fascinating, hey? I’m not really sure what kids and tweens like these days, but I imagine Skylanders is going to be hugely popular this holiday season. While most of the videogame business has been focusing on DLC and $10 online solutions to make more money of off each title, Activision is probably going to strike gold with dollies action figures. If this game does well, can you imagine a Transformers, Pokemon, or Disney game using a similar business model? This dolly thing could be huge…and more than a little exploitative.

Anyway, I wanted to see what you thought about Skylanders and its business model. Is Skylanders brilliant, evil, or both?!?

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Video Confirms Game is Awesome

The more I see of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, the more I want it. The game is utterly charming! Check out this video featuring scenes, sites, sounds, and characters from various Final Fantasy titles set in a music-rhythm game. If you’re not charmed then you have no soul (or you don’t like Final Fantasy).