Thursday, December 9, 2010

Smartphones Crushing Nintendo

According to a new survey released by market research firm Interpret, one-time fans of portable gaming systems like the DS and PSP are ditching them in favor of smartphones like Apple's iPhone.

The news comes amid heightened rumors that Sony, and its joint mobile phone venture Sony Ericcson, is about to unveil an Android-based smartphone that'll integrate PSP game functionality.

"Gamers appear to be defecting from their handheld gaming devices to phones to get their gaming kicks," says Interpret's report, which polled 9,000 U.S. consumers. "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)."

Those defectors are being joined by some of gaming's biggest names. John Carmack, legendary designer behind classics like Doom, has been an advocate of the iPhone as a gaming system for several years and has released several high-profile titles via Apple's App Store. And Epic Games subsidiary ChAIR is set to release an iPhone/iPad exclusive game this week, Infinity Blade, that could well outshine anything we've seen so far on purpose-built portables.

"The proliferation of highly multifunctional smartphones and messaging phones is a very real threat to the dominance by the DS and PSP of the handheld gaming market," Courtney Johnson, Interpret's Manager of Research and Analysis, said in a statement. "Devices which satisfy a variety of entertainment and utility are fast outstripping single-function devices as consumer favorites."

Are you leaving your DS or PSP at home in favor of a gaming-capable smartphone? Let us know why in the comments.