Market share figures published by Flurry Analytics indicate that Apple's share of revenues in the entire US video game software market jumped from 1% to 5%, even as the entire market shrank year over year from $11 billion in 2008 to $9.9 billion in 2009.
"Controlling 5% revenue of a $10 billion industry in just a year and a half is significant," wrote Peter Farango, Flurry's vice president of marketing. "From a market share perspective, console games lost ground to portable platforms and iPhone.
"While the downturn in the economy may have dampened sales of the more expensive console games category, there is no denying that iPhone has generated substantial revenue and entered strongly into a mature industry."
Apple now owns 19% of portable gaming
When excluding console games such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 in order to focus on the portable gaming market, Apple's competitive share looks even better. Over the last year, the company's iPhone App Store games grew from 5% to a 19% share of the entire American portable gaming market.
The portable market didn't recede along with the economy as console games have; instead, portable games including the iPhone and the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable collectively grew from a $2.25 billion market in 2008 to become a $2.55 billion market in 2009.
Apple's rise in gaming software revenue effectively cut Sony's struggling PSP business in half in terms of market share by revenue, and shaved Nintendo's leadership position down from 75% to 70%.
iPad expected to help maintain gaming momentum
Apple's iPad, set for release early next month, is expected to help the company extend its assault on traditional portable gaming devices. The iPad runs existing games designed for the iPhone and iPod touch, but also enables developers to create new and more sophisticated titles designed to make full use of its larger screen.
"With companies like Electronic Arts and Gameloft joining Apple on stage during its January unveiling of the iPad, the tablet device will enjoy elite game publisher support on day one," Farango wrote.
In a previous report, Flurry "determined that more than one third of iPhone game developers come from the traditional gaming industry," indicating that "Apple has already established broad third-party game publisher support."
"Unless the other major video game platform providers (i.e., Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft) respond accordingly," the report concluded, "Apple could continue to roll up video game market share."