Research firm IDC said the dedicated handheld games market will see a “rebound” in 2012 and 2013, driven by premium-priced hardware and software sales related to new-generation devices such as Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s Vita , despite challenges from devices such as tablets and smartphones.

According to the company, although it is “absolutely true that a mind-boggling  number of games have been downloaded to iOS and Android-powered devices in the past year,” only a fraction of these were paid-for, and most of those were in the sub-US$3 price bracket. As a result, the revenue dynamic is not nearly as slanted against dedicated devices as the download growth curve would suggest.

The optimism contrasts with an earlier report from Flurry, which indicated that for the US market at least there had been a shift of revenue toward smartphones and tablets from dedicated handheld devices.