Recently, news came out about the sales status on the Nintendo DS, and the news for Big N was not good at all. Now, the news has come out on Sony's portable gaming excursion, and the news there is equally not good. Sufficiently so, in fact, to make me wonder if mobile gaming has just about had it against its biggest competitors.
Sony went into its launch of the PlayStation Vita with high hopes, expecting to sell 16 million for the fiscal year. With the first three months of the PlayStation Vita down, and only 1.8 million sold, it triggered a bit of humble pie to go around Sony, and an altered forecast of selling just 12 million. Worse yet, the forecast dropped once again, expecting now to sell just 10 million by March 31, 2013.
Admittedly, that doesn't by itself spell doom for portable gaming. After all, they've sold just shy of two million units thus far, and Nintendo is also making sales. Portable gaming is hardly dead, but it's nowhere near the levels at which it once was. The competition is catching up, and it's tough for portable gaming to compete with smartphones. Between the wide array of inexpensive games for download at any time, and the sheer ubiquity of smartphones, it's giving the portable gaming market a run for its money.
However, there are signs of stabilization: Nintendo's core handheld market looks reasonably stable. Sony's still making sales. And both companies are running console systems that have completely separate markets, markets the smartphone market can scarcely hope to compete in.
This may not be the end of the portable gaming market, but without some fairly substantial countermeasures taken, it's certainly not looking good. Portable gaming is going to need to augment its experience, make itself too irresistible to pass up with cheap downloadable smartphone gaming.