Industry Gamers reports on the results of a new survey from market research firm Interpret revealing that users of handheld games are increasingly moving away from dedicated devices such as the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in favor of smartphones such as the iPhone.

The report, "The Phone Gaming Revolution: Do the DS and PSP Stand a Chance?," found that 43.8% of the phone/DS/PSP gaming market plays games on phones, which represents a significant 53.2% increase over the past year. At the same time, Interpret says that the proportion of those who play on the DS or PSP has fallen by 13%.

But while that data could indicate that the market for handheld gaming is simply expanding with the increasing capabilities of phones, other data shows that users of dedicated gaming devices are in fact abandoning those devices in favor of their phones.

The company notes, "Gamers appear to be defecting from their handheld gaming devices to phones to get their gaming kicks: a full 27.2% of consumers who indicate that they play games on their phones only (and not on the DS/PSP) actually own a DS or PSP, but do not actively use the device(s)."

With existing dedicated gaming devices being forsaken in favor of all-in-one smartphone devices, some analysts are questioning whether dedicated devices have a significant role in the future portable gaming market. Sony at least appears to be responding to the threat with a "PlayStation Phone" of its own that appears to be an Android-based device offering many of the features of a smartphone while also including hardware buttons akin to those found on traditional handheld gaming devices.

[Originally Posted on MacRumors]

  • blakespot

    A kid would have to be nuts to ask Santa for a DS or a PSP, looking at the volume and price of quality games for iOS.

    • Scott Colbert

      Until they're on a long trip with family and the battery dies.

      • Stuart Carnie can get juice packs to extend the battery life though.

    • ImNoSuperMan

      Ya, but to be fair, DS and PSP are at the end of thier life cycles now and pretty much obsolete. Lets see how it works out after 3DS and PSP2 shows up.

      I'm iOS exclusive for the foreseeable future though. Nowhere else you'll find so many great games with this much variety and rock bottom prices 😉

      • Josh L

        I'm with you on both of those statements. I think the cycle is at least somewhat of a factor.

        Personally I've switched off DS mainly just from a changing of my personal usage of portable games. My DS was mostly unused when I first got my iPhone 3G anyways. I just had gotten away from 'big' portable games. I use the iPhone for quick games, something the DS also has. But I don't have a DS on me for those quick gaming moments either.

    • Hank

      yeah the PSP and NDS games cost more, but the quality is also far superior to anything on the iOS. The iOS have plenty of good games but in terms of quality nothing on the iOS compare even remotely with the likes of say for example God of War, Metal Gear Peace Walker, Resistance Retribution, Valkyria Chronicles, Crisis Core, Burnout Legend etc on the PSP or the likes of Dragon Quest IX, Bowser's Inside story, Professor Layton etc on the NDS.

    • Josh Presseisen

      my son was asking for a DS this xmas - because all of his friends have one, and none of them have iPod touches. We're holding out for the 3DS.

  • Dalurkersteve

    If you just look at the last couple of posts on TA (infinity blade, puzzle quest 2, world of goo, dungeon hunter, multiplayer support for flight control, etc...) its clear that idevices are the future of mobile gaming... Microsoft and Sony can release gaming phones but they'll be hard pressed to compete with the ios lineup

  • Anonymous

    Same topic in on one of the console sites (Joystiq maybe) and the DS and PSP owners are going off the deep end. It's the usual arguemnt Iphone, etc.. have no AAA titles, no tactile feedback because of lack of buttons, can't do complex games - all pick up and play for 2 minute games. I think that argument made sense about 6 months ago...but no longer. I have both portables - once in a while I'll play a DS title, and the PSP is becoming fossilized in my closet...not touched since 2008. Both are going on Ebay after the holiday is over and I get time to deal with that.

    • Hank

      so what AAA titles have been released on the iOS? The only one that comes to my mind is GTA CTW. I only started using my PSP and NDS recently after a long hiatus as well and relied pretty much solely on the iOS for mobile gaming. After playing with my NDS and PSP recently I can honestly say nothing on the iOS even remotely approach AAA titles such as MGS:PW, GOW, Valkyria, Resistance, ModNation etc in terms of quality.

      • Anonymous

        Chaos Rings, Civilization Revolution, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Mirror's Edge, Real Racing, Battle for Wesnoth, are just some of what I consider AAA titles on the I-devices - (Including iPad).

        I'm not necessarily referring to well known licenses like Metal Gear or God of War, but the above mentioned IOS titles are not exactly Doodle Jump or a flash port. Look at Lego Harry Potter - it's no Mario vs. whatever in terms of popularity, but there's no denying it's a huge console/hand-held title. Turns out, it's the same as the DS version, but at a fraction of the price, and a superior display.

      • Hank

        I actually own all of those games other than Battle for Wesnoth. Yes I agree those are AAA titles for iOS, but if they are ported to say a PSP they are hardly AAA titles. I wouldn't be surprised if they are all reviewed as 6.0 (out of 10) or lower if they were PSP titles.
        I mean look at the PSP RPGs, a 6.0 ranked game are the likes of Star Ocean, Tales of the World etc all vastly superior RPG games than Chaos Ring.

        Personally the best iOS games are the NDS ports (GTA:CW, Lego Harry Potter, Phoenix Wright, Civilization Revolution). I absolutely welcome more ports from NDS or PSP.

  • Anonymous

    To me, this is just confirmation the causal gaming market has found it's calling. "Gamers" still want the more in-depth games, just as they've always done. It's the people who don't have time to play games and think that Bejeweled and Sudoku are an appropriate way to spend a lunch break that have realized the iPhone conforms to their watered-down idea of what gaming really is, 5-minute boosts while they're waiting in a queue or on the bus home from work.

  • EastsideStompers

    I have a DS and an iPod Touch. I'm from an era that straddles the cartridge and digital worlds. As much as I appreciate the ease with which one can turn on - download - play nowadays (and I do LOVE my iPod Touch), I personally still love the physical feeling of getting a cartridge out of a box and putting it in the DS. I even enjoy buying it from Amazon or wherever with the inevitable feelings of wide-eyed anticipation of its arrival. Call me an old fashioned sentimentalist old fart, but there's something rather ceremonious about the whole process (lol) that keeps the feeling of value firmly in my grasp. I like that...alot: )

  • Anonymous

    Every time I see the new releases for PSP ($40) and DS ($30, $35 for Nintendo and SqEnix titles), I die a little inside. iOS is the new arcade and that's why I love it.

    • Ziggy

      I guess I'm completely different from you in this case. I get much more entertainment value from a AAA rated PSP game (much cheaper than $40 used) than a bunch of iOS games with aggregate cost of $40. If it was an option, I'd much rather spend $40 on a single AAA title on my iPhone as opposed to some of the duds I played recently combined (Samurai 2, Galaxy of FIre 2, Modern Combat 2, Rimelands, Chaos Rings, Stoneship)

      • Philosonic

        I agree, they are great games, and it's not like a more polishing and 1 GB to 3 GB app wouldn't put them on par with first class PSP and NDS titles. They could sell from 12$ to 25$ or even well design freemium package, and I feel it would still be viable for developers and players. I could have totally see myself played FF13 Agito on the newest smartphones if square had a little more foresight.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, different strokes and all that. I can name dozens of iPhone apps that don't have any equivalent on DS or PSP. It could just come down to the style of play that you like. Galaxy on Fire 2 (far from a dud!), Ravensword, Pocket Legends, or NOVA would be big-budget titles on the other platforms if someone would be willing to take a chance on them.

  • Adams Immersive

    In the not-really-pocketable sit-on-the-sofa or take-to-a-friend’s-place market, I’d certainly rather have an iPad than a PS2!

  • Philosonic

    I will not be an iOS exclusive user for the time being, simply considering that at least half of a device best titles are usually released at the end of their life cycle and that dedicated deceive still have better game libraries. What I see from some of the best title on the iOS are "the game that could have been...", because really, there is not legitimate hardware and software complication anymore for not being able to deliver games ON PAR with dedicated devices, still reviewers are more complacent with Android, W7 and iOS titles.

  • apester

    I'll admit I haven't touched my DS or my PSP in months...I still used them regularly back when i just had the iphone but since the ipod came long they just both gather dust. While I agree that there aren't iOS games with the depth of whatever pseudo console games get crammed onto a psp...but then I don't look for marathon gaming sessions on a handheld device either...if I want that I have consoles and a PC.

  • Fleeyourmind

    My fear is that hardware manufacturers will take the wrong lesson and eliminate buttons and d-pads in favor of touch gaming. I truly believe that price is the main factor in this story.

  • Anonymous

    I think this trend will change when the 3DS comes out. People seem to be completely obsessed with stereoscopic 3d lately so I imagine the system will have astronomic sales. People are also easily taken in by gimmicks and the 3DS is basically overflowing with them; aside from the glasses free 3d it has motion sensors and augmented reality stuff.

  • g0d-C1ph3r_dyv1n3

    ::sigh:: I'm so sick of this "future of handheld gaming" crap that pervades gaming news recently. I'm like this: I'm totally not against smartphones/mobile devices/whatever you want to call them also functioning as legitimate video game handhelds. However, until said devices start sporting battery life equivalent to something like a dedicated handheld machine, the decision is clear for me...and I have an iPod touch I use mostly for playing quick games. And I just bought Golden Sun: Dark Dawn @ $34.99 last week for my XL and tonight's Illusia/Zenonia/HYBRID/Inotia/The Quest/Across Age/Chaos Rings/etc. don't have anything on the depth, storyline, dialogue, graphics, quality, and overall presentation. I kinda think all this stuff is a fad. More to phones totally replacing dedicated machines but they have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go.

  • Rockabyebaby

    iOS devices are a victory for casual games and people who love them but it's just for that; casual games. Without physical buttons I don't want to play a 'serious gamer' title on my iPod. I mean, I got this thing to have fun.

  • Arris Dome Resident

    "People are also easily taken in by gimmicks and the 3DS is basically overflowing with them; aside from the glasses free 3d it has motion sensors and augmented reality stuff."

    "At this point Nintendo is also essentially like Disney and Macdnalds; its an unstoppable, everlasting brand with an unbreakable grip on the lowest common denominator. What they say goes."

    Really now. Really? Aside from the 3D which makes the 3DS unique at the moment (key words), how can you not see the irony in such a set of statements? Your beloved imaginary, over-idealized image of Apple was the first to implement such "gimmicks" in a handheld device.

    You know your argument is crap when it hurts your own position (possibly even moreso than the target of your disdain, ie. "lowest common denominator", I bet I can find far more shovelware on one system over the other, care to guess which wins?) if flipped on its head.

    To be clear, I own a DS, PSP, and an iDevice and am not advocating a one-sided, unselfconscious fanboy approach to assessing the individual merits of each device. Fanboys lack the self-awareness to see the double-standards in their projections they call arguments or the fact that they are basically credulous, unpayed corporate shills & free publicity for these billion dollar corporations who do not care about them.

    • Arris Dome Resident

      To the fanboys, in summation, you are helping to facilitate the killing of the very thing that you love by being so selectively uncritical. STOP IT!