We all know iPad is a great gaming device. Apple is bound to grow iPad’s entertainment allure as it puts out newer, faster iPads with juicer graphics and user base expands. But for some high-profile publishers, gaming on iPad is now their focal point as the traditional console business has been in a steady decline. Blame it on high-priced hardware and software in the console world, more attractive touch gaming platforms and consoles’ multi-year upgrade cycles. But we’re not talking any publisher here, this quote comes from the mouth of John Riccitiello, the Electronic Arts CEO, who told IndustryGamers yesterday:

Consoles used to be 80% of the industry as recently as 2000. Consoles today are 40% of the game industry, so what do we really have? I think that the pattern against which Nintendo is no longer resonating is over anyway. We have a new hardware platform and we’re putting out software every 90 days. Our fastest growing platform is the iPad right now and that didn’t exist 18 months ago.

Wow, that’s a pretty strong statement. What’s more, coming from the world’s super publisher, it definitely legitimizes Apple as an important player in the gaming space. No wonder Nintendo called Apple “enemy of the future” and slashed the price of the 3DS handheld from $249 to $169 as the iPhone and iPad ate its lunch (and Forbes agrees). On top of that…

…on competing platforms like iOS it only costs $99 to become a developer, low-cost and free games are the norm, and the ease of distribution via the App Store is unmatched in any industry. Google might also enter the market when Google TV receives Android Market access via a Honeycomb updated later this summer, bringing games to the living room. That said, it’s safe to assume Apple might as well update the Apple TV software to allow gaming on the big screen. Mobile entertainment industry was worth a whopping $33 billion last year and there’s an awesome infographic by the Geekaphone blog for that, included right below.

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