If gaming handheld manufacturers and handheld game developers were worried about disappointing sales, they might have something new to worry about. A joint report from IDC and App Annie shows that in the second quarter of 2013, Google Play Store has surpassed gaming-optimized handhelds in terms of consumer spending on games.
The scenario was slightly reversed in the first quarter, where Play Store only took the third spot. The new scores might not be that far apart yet, but beating out gaming handheld giants like the Sony Playstation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS is already a milestone victory for Android gaming. We might see figures rise even higher in the near future with Android handhelds like the leaked Archos GamePad 2 or the NVIDIA SHIELD, which we absolutely loved.
Greg Hartell, lead project manager of Google Play, attributes this rising revenue of Android games to three factors. The first is the worlwide expansion of the Google Play Store which now covers 130 countries, including developing countries that are fast adopting the mobile app lifestyle. Second is the offloading of common tasks and features such as cloud saving, multiplayer, or leaderboards to Google Play's game services, leaving developers free to focus on the more important task of making a game truly great. And lastly, carrier billing has provided an alternative and direct way to get revenue from users, something that developers find quite enticing.
Of course, Apple's App Store still has a huge lead over Google Play Store. But together, the two mobile stores make up four times more in game spending revenues than handhelds, giving Sony and Nintendo a real run for their money.