The 3DS has sold 17 million units over the past year or so, following a slow start. The PlayStation Vita has sold 1.2 million units over the three months it's been out. Meanwhile, the iPad 3 sold 3 million units in three days, making it better and faster selling than its two competitors.
Reports say that Apple and Android make up about 2/3 of handheld gaming revenue. This is compared to several years ago, when Nintendo had about 2/3 of handheld gaming revenue. It's statistics like these that make me think the iPad is the best handheld gaming console on the market right now.
Why is the iPad so popular as a handheld gaming console? Here are some guesses on my part.
- iPad games are ridiculously cheaper. 99 cents for Angry Birds, versus $39.99 for Mario?
- You can download games instantly, which means not having to visit GameStop.
- Also, there's no hassle about new games and used games, because all the games are digital. Apple's "back up your games to a computer and/or the iCloud" system assuages my fear that the games will magically disappear someday, because I don't have a physical copy of them.
- The iPad plays games from older systems. The 3DS doesn't play GBA games; the iPad 3 plays iPad 1 games just fine.
- It's easier for game developers to update the game with new material or bug fixes, after the game is made. I've seen a lot of my apps update. That's got to be near-impossible with handheld cartridges.
- The iPad does a lot more than just play games. The 3DS brags about its non-gaming features, like the camera and the Internet browser. Let's just say that, in terms of those things, the iPad has the 3DS whipped.