Consoles to suffer as tablets triple mobile games downloads by 2017



blog Tablet makers are set to reap a windfall in coming years as gamers continue to shift their gaming dollars away from dedicated gaming devices and into the wallets of increasingly agile mobile-gaming developers, new figures from Juniper Research have suggested.

In 2017, the firm’s Mobile & Tablet Games: Discovery, In-App Purchases & Advertising report says, users of mobile devices will download 64.1 billion games onto those devices – more than triple the 21 billion games downloaded in 2012.

Citing an increase in the number of “sophisticated” games, multi-platform gameplay facilitated by cloud interoperability, and greater device memory to support larger games, Juniper believed “mobile would become the primary screen for gamers” and noted that the impact of this trend was already being felt by the likes of Nintendo:

Tablet games are growing so much because they are such an accessible way for all consumer segments to access games. In particular mid-core gamers, who previously spent a lot of money and time playing games but now have jobs, families or other commitments, are driving this trend…

Juniper Research believes that mobile and tablet games will not mark the end of the [portable gaming device market], but with players such as Nintendo cutting its sales forecasts by 14% for its 3DS, and 27% for its Wii U, it is hard to deny the challenge by the smartphone and tablet sector.

A companion white paper (registration required) breaks down prospects for in-app purchases, advertising and other aspects of the mobile and tablet games market.

Juniper believes in-app spending, which has become a key part of the mobile-gaming experience, will reach $US3.03 billion in 2016. Interestingly, the ‘Far East & China’ region is expected to dominate, accounting for around two-thirds of that revenue.

Image credit: Vincent Diamante, CC BY-SA 2.0.


  1. Most tablet and phone games do not compare to console games.

    Having said that I don’t think the big threat to consoles will come from mobile as mobile is complementary to consoles and may even bring in the more casual crowd with multi screen / multi-device games. The big threat will be from steam boxes, and low cost options like OUYA and potentially even Roku.
    In 5-10 years most game content will be streamed for top line games will be streamed from a server meaning any streaming box that can decode the signal could be a gaming device. It would be a boon for developers as they would only need to develop the game once without middleware and could control the experience people get and would not be hardware dependant.

    So yes people are playing more games while mobile but it is not cannibalizing consoles if anything it is removing profits from newspapers and magazines as people shun these for their mobile devices.

  2. I can see tablet gaming expanding and console gaming shrinking, but not because of a relationship between the two. More people are picking up tablets and will continue to do so, and I predict that there won’t be anywhere near the uptake on the next round of consoles that we saw with the 360/ps3, because the 360/ps3 were a massive leap for consoles at the time, funded by corporate losses. The 720/ps4 aren’t, and MS/Sony won’t be as keen to take such a loss per console in this post-GFC world.

  3. There is a place for PC gaming, Console gaming and Mobile gaming.

    Traditional Console game platforms may suffer a hit, but they will not “die” just like PC gaming never “died”

    If anything what you will likely find is an increase in console gaming from those introduced to gaming by the mobile gaming.

    Systems like Ouya will reap the rewards of that, being that they are essentially a mobile gaming platform in a console configuration.

    Steam box will be interesting, and may finally bring console/PC gaming back together.

    The best thing about it all is customer choice tho. More systems means more markets, and less ability for individual companies to monopolise at the expense of the consumer. A smaller share of the overall market, means they have to work harder to make their pay.

    All in all interesting times ahead

  4. This is a bit like saying US tourism is going to suffer as Japanese tourism booms. For a few that might be the case, but generally different people go to different places for different reasons.

Comments are closed.