Smartphone-centric webzines have been crowing this week with the release of modeling which suggests that the Nintendo DS will generate a mere 36% of handheld revenue in 2011. Advocates of smartphone gaming are interpreting this development as a sign that Nintendo will soon be developing games for their preferred telecommunications OS.
The analysis firm Flurry has this week released modeling based on NDP data which suggests that the DS’s share of handheld profit is set to fall this year from 57% in 2010 to a scant 36% in 2011. To further contextualise the fading fortunes of Nintendo’s mighty handheld, Flurry have noted that in 2009 Nintendo’s DS held a princely 70% of a market worth a cool $2.7 billion, while in 2011 the aging console will accrue just 36% of a market worth $3.3 billion. Flurry suggest that cheap Android and iOS games have made spending $40 on portable software seem redundant, likening Nintendo’s response to the encroaching smartphone marauders to a sleeping army’s failure to detect an enemy attack. The firm have suggested that Nintendo will soon be forced to abandon their hardware business in favour of developing games for competing platforms.
While few would argue with Flurry’s contention that 2011 has seen Nintendo caught flat-footed with respect to their hardware business, their analysis nevertheless leaves several big questions unanswered. Chief among them is where does the 3DS fit into their prognostications, along with the need for them to give account for exactly why it is significant that DS sales have tapered off when the console is all but ready to be retired.