Published on septiembre 30th, 2009 | by admin0
Game Console Makers Feeling the Heat from Apple.
There’s a growing sense in the gaming industry that we may finally have reached “good enough” in the realm of hardware. And as the battle shifts from primarily hardware to software and great downloadable content, there is one unexpected player sitting pretty in the marketplace: Apple.
We wrote previously about Apple’s challenge to portable gaming. Industry executives at the recent Tokyo Game Show are voicing concerns that Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch ecosystem could be undercutting traditional console sales as well, reports the New York Times.
The question is how can the big three console manufacturers, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, keep consumers engaged with expensive consoles and expensive games ($30 to $60 and beyond) when Apple offers a multi-purpose, portable media device that can download games for $0.99 a pop or, in many cases, free?
The Rise of Mobile Gaming
The shift away from the hard-core titles that once drove console sales was clear at this year’s TGS, where 168 of the 758 games shown were made for cell phones — more than double the number on display at last year’s event. The CEO of Konami, Kazumi Kitaue, known for popular franchises like Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Dance Dance Revolution, was quoted as saying, “As a platform, the cellphone has the biggest potential, because everybody owns one.”
Price cuts on all three major consoles have occurred this month in response to declining sales, with Nintendo finally announcing a Wii price drop at the Tokyo Game Show. In that sort of climate, how can gaming executives not think about taking some cues from Apple’s App Store success?
Still, companies like Sony remain stiff-lipped about the competition. President of Sony’s game development wing Shuhei Yoshida said, “The quality of cellphone games is varied, and you couldn’t play many of them for hours.” And he has a point — the qualitative experience on a mobile platform versus sitting in the living room with a blockbuster title are very different. Hardcore gamers will still crave that type of immersive experience despite — or more likely in addition to — offerings from Apple that are cheap and on-the-go.
Nevertheless, if that hardcore demographic is spending less in a downturned economy and thinking twice about new hardware and new box copies of titles, the gaming industry still has a problem on its hands. Game developers in Japan and elsewhere are being wise in diversifying some of their business to the mobile and casual spheres, and that overall trend will likely continue for some time.
What do you think: are you a gamer whose console will be pried only from your cold, dead hands? Are you a non-gamer who has enjoyed picking up a few games for the iPhone? Is there room for both approaches, and what will it take to get consumers thrilled about going into another console hardware cycle again?
via.by Barb Dybwad