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Handheld Gamers Moving From Dedicated Devices to Smartphones


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.

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