Apple Cements Its Position Atop Handheld Gaming

video gamesAlready the leading mobile gaming platform, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced it will give iOS app makers permission to create games that will transform its devices into actual game controllers.

For years Apple founder Steve Jobs refused to let anyone mess with the sleek design of the iPhone or the iPad, but Tim Cook seems to be fine with the idea. According to Gigaom, the first picture of just such a device has already made its rounds on the Internet. The device, apparently made by Logitech, a personal computer accessory company, first appeared on the website Kotaku. The blurry picture depicts a black case, with a similar feel to a Nintendo Game Boy, that fits around the outside of an iPhone 5.

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Apple has yet to release its complete vision for handheld gaming devices, passing up the opportunity at last week’s WWDC. But just two days ago an IDC report stated that iOS games would surpass typical handheld devices, such as Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s 3DS, for the first time ever.

According to the report iOS gaming would increase two percentage points of its market share to just over 20 percent. Meanwhile, gaming-optimized handhelds including the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS would drop 11 points of market share to fall below the 20 percent mark.

Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices are expected to gain a whopping 10 percentage points to finish just shy of 60 percent of market share. Good news keeps coming for Android devices, as TechSpot reports that the total number of mobile/portable devices used for gaming will go from 800 million in 2012 to 1.2 billion in 2014.

The number of mobile/portable devices used for gaming is also a big boost for Apple, which should cement its position as the top mobile gaming company with the release of the new controllers.

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But what does this mean for handheld gaming companies like Sony? Yes, they have lost a large portion of market share, but the news isn’t completely dour. The average revenue per user is actually on the rise with handhelds. However, this can be viewed in one of two ways. On one hand, companies like Sony are able to squeeze more out of their remaining customers. On the other: at what point do these customers become privy to the fact that they are spending more money, when a shift to apps would be far cheaper in the long run?

At this point, even the good news for strictly handheld companies could prove dire in the end.

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