When it comes to gaming systems, you might think the most popular is the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, or perhaps the Nintendo Switch. Nope.
Maybe Windows 10 PCs? Wrong.
With more than 1 billion iPhones sold over the past decade, the indisputable fact is this pocket-sized device – based on Apple’s iOS operating system – enjoys the largest installed base of gamers. And this doesn’t include iPads, which also run on the iOS platform.
“There are 900 million iPhones out there, only around 300 million consoles, so it is clearly the biggest base of gamers,” confirms Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities. “No individual console has ever had an installed base of 200 million.”
There are several reasons for the iPhone’s popularity among gamers, maintains Pachter, including accessibility, convenience, a huge variety of free-to-play games, and short duration game sessions. “It has all of the obvious advantages,” he adds.
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You might argue comparing an iPhone to a home console is apples to oranges (pardon the pun), as a smartphone isn’t a dedicated gaming system – it’s also used for calls, messaging, photos, GPS, web browsing, productivity apps, and so on – but according to Statista, more than 50 percent of smartphone users game on their device.
Plus, while the Android operating system has a bigger overall install base than iOS worldwide, there isn’t just one manufacturer of Android devices, therefore Apple’s iPhone claim is valid.
Also trailing the iPhone: the 700 million or so shipped personal computers that run Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, according to estimates from tech site Neowin.
A closer look at iPhone’s handle on video games
There are three devices on the market today: iPhone XR (from $749), iPhone XS (from $999) and iPhone XS Max (from $1099). While the specs vary somewhat, they benefit from Apple’s A12 Bionic chip that can handle intensive games, thanks in part to its 6-core CPU (central processing unit) and 4-core GPU (graphics processing unit).
As big as 6.5 inches on the iPhone XS Max, the larger, very immersive displays on these devices can produce vibrant color, deliver vibrations as feedback, and loud stereo audio, too.
The iPhone’s cameras also unlock magical augmented reality experiences, which fuse the physical world with a digital one (see below).
There are several accessories available to enhance your gaming experience including wireless controllers, Bluetooth speakers and headphones, battery packs, special cases and stands. Some are certified as “Made for iPhone” (“MFi”), such as the Gamevice Controller for iPhone ($79), which fits the device in between the controller’s buttons, joysticks, d-pad, and more.