clash of clans

With over 20 billion games downloaded across all smart phone and tablet platforms in 2012, the mobile gaming market is shifting inexorably away from dedicated handheld consoles.

Statistics released today by analytics site App Annie and market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that total game spending on the iOS App Store and Google Play eclipsed that on dedicated handheld consoles during fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple led this dominance, helped by a growth in Google Play gaming revenue, particularly in Japan and South Korea. Around 60 percent of purchases of Google Play games came from the Asia-Pacific region that period.

Worldwide Portable Game Consumer Spending 4Q12

Despite business models that are vastly different, Nintendo and Apple, when viewed in isolation, actually matched each other for sales pretty closely. “While the most popular games and their business models are quite distinct, Nintendo and Apple were surprisingly close in terms of aggregate consumer spend on game software in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Lewis Ward, IDC’s gaming research manager, via press release.

Nintendo dominated the list of top five grossing dedicated handheld games, with key titles like Pokémon Black/White Version 2 (DS) and New Super Mario Bros 2. (3DS). Sony’s PlayStation Vita and PSP consoles had a limited share of the packaged game market, with Nintendo shipments topping Sony’s by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.

Worldwide Dedicated Handheld Packaged Game Shipments 2012

All 2012’s top grossing games on iOS and Google Play (listed below) were free-to-play titles supported by in-app purchases. All the top-grossing dedicated handheld titles were full-priced boxed (or boxed plus digital) releases.

While the game is a long way from over for dedicated handheld consoles, both Sony and Nintendo are surely taking notes on this shift in mobile gaming spending patterns.

iOS App Store

1. Clash of Clans Supercell (Finland)

2. Puzzles & Dragons GungHo Online (Japan)

3. Hay Day Supercell (Finland)

4. Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North Kabam, (U.S.)

5. The Simpsons: Tapped Out Electronic Arts (U.S.)

Google Play

1. Puzzles & Dragons GungHo Online (Japan)

2. DragonFlight for Kakao NextFloor (South Korea)

3. Anipang for Kakao SUNDAYTOZ (South Korea)

4. GREE GREE (Japan)

5. I Love Coffee for Kakao PATISTUDIO (South Korea)

Dedicated handhelds

1. Pokémon Black/White Version 2, DS, Game Freak (Japan)

2. New Super Mario Bros. 2 3DS, Nintendo (Japan)

3. Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS, Nintendo (Japan)

4. Super Mario 3D Land 3DS, Nintendo (Japan)

5. Mario Kart 7 3DS, Nintendo (Japan)

[Report images via App Annie]