The question of whether the lure of cheap or even free titles on smartphones is hurting game sales on handhelds has been hotly contested in recent years, but number crunchers at analytics firm Flurry believe they have an answer.

Based on stats pooled from both NPD reports and the firm's own mobile data – Flurry's software employed in scores of games on iOS and Android – it's claimed Nintendo's DS will account for just 36 per cent of all portable software sales in the US this year.

That's no meagre figure, but it represents a weighty drop from the 70 per cent share Nintendo boasted back in 2009.

Flurry of opinions

Flurry's take is that mobile games have made the idea of paying out £40 for a game redundant on portable platforms.

"Beyond 2011, if Nintendo continues to face financial hardship, it may be forced to consider difficult choices such as divesting its hardware business and distributing its content, for the first time, across non-proprietary platforms," writes Flurry's Peter Farago in the report, claiming Nintendo is on a "burning platform" being attacked from all sides.

"Equally concerning for Nintendo is that the battle for video game dominance is entering the living room, with entries by both Apple and Google into the TV category."

Over on Pocket Gamer sister site PocketGamer.biz, I've written an opinion piece comparing Nintendo's failure to deal with smartphones to a sleeping army's failure to anticipate enemy action.

"What's certain, is that the tactics Nintendo previously used to beat off former enemies is not going to nullify this new foe, nor will turning its back on the approaching armies in the hope they'll simply pass on by.

"Right now, Nintendo still has a window of opportunity to alter its 3DS approach, whether through a hardware revision that better equips the handheld for the new battlefield, or a renewed attempt to deliver a digital marketplace aligned to the App Store model, rather than opposed to it."

That's a taster. You can read the full piece over on PocketGamer.biz, or give your own take in the comments box below.