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iPod touch outselling PSP and DS in games, not systems

Mike Schramm
September 1, 2010
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During this morning's event, Steve Jobs tossed out the factoid that the iPod touch was trouncing traditional handheld gaming, claiming that the system had sold more than Nintendo and Sony's portables combined. If, like us, you thought that meant Apple had sold more devices than traditional game makers, then Steve was wrong -- he mentioned in the same event that Apple has shipped 120 million iOS devices, and while that's very impressive, it's not quite as big as the 125 million Nintendo DS systems the Japanese company had sold around the world as of January. That doesn't even count the 62 million PSP units Sony has sold worldwide. In terms of gaming devices sold, Apple has a long ways to go.

But Steve can't have been that wrong -- he said that the iPod touch had sold more than Nintendo or Sony combined. He can't be off by over 60 million, right? It's more likely that he meant software sales. There have been about 718 million DS games sold in the system's history, and about 252 million games sold on the PSP. And there have been 6.5 billion downloads of iOS apps so far (with 1.5 billion of those being game and entertainment apps). When you compare the numbers that way, yes, Apple is far outselling Nintendo and Sony in terms of game sales. But of course, iOS apps tend to be much cheaper than Sony and Nintendo's software (if not free), and gamers could probably argue all day about the difference in average quality of the two platforms.

Either way, Steve was stretching the truth a little bit on that stat. Apple has done a terrific job making inroads on portable gaming (some of it even without planning to do so), but the Cupertino company has a little way to go yet before it starts really competing with the established console manufacturers.

Update: A few commenters suggest that Apple has sold more iPod touches than both other systems combined recently, as in the last quarter or so. But the other two devices are a few years older than the oldest iPod touch, so that doesn't seem like a great comparison either. Again, Apple has made really incredible strides into handheld gaming, but the company isn't quite overwhelming its competitors in this market yet.







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