This morning TUAW's Richard Gaywood geeked out in a major way. Utilizing Wikipedia's power of warehousing even the silliest statistics combined with some good old fashioned spreadsheeting he totaled up the number of console games in existence and compared it to the number of currently available games on the App Store.
Gaywood admits there are several caveats to his methods, as there is some double dipping taking place on the iOS side of the fence with lite versions and other free versions of games. We ran our own queries based on the AppShopper database and determined that while there have been 51,856 games released on the App Store, and of those games 12,876 include the word "lite" in the name while 6,542 include the word "free". Without freebies, the App Store is home to 32,438 games versus the 17,150 games that have been released on every other video game console ever.
Of course, quantity has no relation to quality, as any veteran of the App Store can tell you that there is no shortage of junk games available for iOS devices. At the same time, there also isn't any dearth of terrible games available for home consoles. These statistics don't include PC or Flash games either, a figure that would be very difficult to come up with considering the complete lack of any kind of release oversight or official repository. The best figure for Flash games likely is NewGrounds and according to them, they have collected "about 40,000" games since the site went live in 1995.
There are many ways you could slice these statistics, but Richard really summed all this up in a way that I think everyone can agree with:
...I still think there is a message here, which is that the App Store is a huge force in gaming. Apple has tapped into a massive market that was previously going largely unfulfilled, and plenty of developers are making piles of cash out of it.
The App Store is an awesome place, and with the pace that the market is growing along with industry giants like EA, Activision and more recently Id and Epic taking the platform seriously, I can't think of a much better gaming device to own right now than a recent iPhone or iPod touch.