Apple emerging as big player in the games industry

I can recall the first time I played on my brand spanking new NES, back in 1991. Now it seems that Apple has come in at the right time, with the right product. Their foray into video games has been a knock-out success.

The New York Times reports from the floor of the Tokyo Game Show. There, giants like Sony and Microsoft presented their latest inventions. The gaming giants are truly dreading Apple with their iPhone, iPod Touch and the accompanying App Store. Their absence from the Show shows how confident they are in the new iPod Touch versions introduced 2 weeks ago.

While Sony and Microsoft sell games at prices up to $50, Apple sells games through its Apple Store as low as 99 cents. When, in 2007, Apple launched the first model of the famed iPhone, Masato Shibata, an executive at Hudson, a games company, was so excited at the myriad possibilities. "I got goose bumps. I knew this was going to revolutionize the world of gaming," Mr. Shibata said. "And I knew it would hit Japan in a big way." Since then, Hudson has released 26 games for the App Store and reached 3 million downloads. So, it seems, in Japan the cellphone game market is expanding rapidly.

Sony is of course dismissive of the rising cellphone games market. "The quality of cellphone games is varied, and you couldn't play many of them for hours," said Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's games development arm. "Will a company be able to operate completely on these games? No," Mr. Yoshida said. "After all, we're talking about the kind of games people make sitting in a cafe with a laptop."

Their concern is understandable, but in the end the consumer decides what will succeed and what not. Trends change quickly, and also disappear rapidly. It's true however that Apple has made a good decision to aim the iPod Touch at the mobile gaming industry. It has worked beautifully for them so far.

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gaming on the iphone is basically like a browser flash game... cuz of the touchscreen being like a mouse in a way...and how shallow they are... except with flash games at least some of them let you use the keyboard, but theres no keyboard on the iphone...

The iPhone is a crappy gaming device. Apple never even intended for it to be a gaming device. The only reason people game on it so much is because it is always in their pocket. The iPhone isn't even as good of a gaming device as WinMo phones. I used to love playing NES games on my WinMo phone but the NES emus on my iPhone suck because there aren't any hard buttons. A buttonless device is never going to compete with a dedicated gaming device. There are three gaming markets right now. Mobile crap games on cell phones, slightly better games on dedicated mobile gaming devices and good games running on consoles and PCs.

The iPhone is just a big player in the crappy games industry.

Xenomorph said,
I honestly spend more time playing games on my iPhone 3GS than I do on my computer, Wii, DS, or PS2.

Exact opposite here

Of course, to play games in the PC/PS3/360 league, there is AMD's Fusion Render Cloud technology, which would allow one to play Crysis on an iPhone with all settings maxed out with a good framerate.

What I think is amazing about iPhone/iPod gaming is that there is so much to choose from and there are a lot of kind of stuff to choose from. You can have a .99 simple game like doodle jump that it is really simple, however it works really great, it is a lot of fun and is VERY addictive. Then, if you're looking into more console like experience, you can have games like Modern Combat: Sandstorm, with probably better than PSP quality, only a little bit on the short side but for only 6.99 it is great. There is really some quality stuff coming out for the Apple platform, and it has a versatility that is not available anywhere else. And to think that there is a lot of potential with the 3GS and iPod Touch 3G that hasn't been utilized yet. Next year is going to be great for iPhone gaming.

Cask1 said,
Next year is going to be great for iPhone gaming.


Why? Will they release Frogger, Pacman and Donkey Kong?

Sure there are games on the iPhone, just like there are games on every other generic phone and have been since companies like Verizon have pushed content to users for over 10 years now.

I would even bet 'good' money, that applications/games released through providers like Verizon, sell a lot more of their games than the less than 1% of the market that is the iPhone.

So where does this come from, really? Does this mean the Free Samsung Hue that little jimmy got for XMas two years ago and had 10 purchased games on it is replacing his consoles because he bought 10 games for it at 2.99 each?

This is about the most insane article I have read, and why I believe it is wrong that Apple gives away so much free product to journalists, and journalists accept it...

Their absence from the Show shows how confident they are in the new iPod Touch versions introduced 2 weeks ago.

Yeah, suuuuuuuuure... I don't know that I buy this at all... If Apple were really interested in competing in the gaming industry, they would appear at the game shows... I can't believe someone could twist their not attending the game show into a positive for them... Very fan boyish... LOL

I did not read all the comments (so I apologize to those who are not in the wrong)
But you are all idiots, I didn't get from this article that Apple games are better than console and pc games.
It just simply states that Apple is quite successful in the gaming industry, in other words, their games are selling.

Not everyone one wants to pay 60$ for a game and then have to isolate themselves from the world to be able to finish it in a week (or more if its a game like WoW). So again, for you feeble minded pple out there, Apple games are not better than console games....Apple games are just very successful, people are buying them.

It is more accurate to say that Apple is gaining a very strong foothold in a handheld niche of gaming, not competing credibly with $50+ premium titles.

Dace said,
I did not read all the comments (so I apologize to those who are not in the wrong)
But you are all idiots, I didn't get from this article that Apple games are better than console and pc games.
It just simply states that Apple is quite successful in the gaming industry, in other words, their games are selling.

You actually read the article. Congrats to you Sir for being one of the few!

excalpius said,
It is more accurate to say that Apple is gaining a very strong foothold in a handheld niche of gaming, not competing credibly with $50+ premium titles.

Yeah, exactly. The article is very misleading...

Dace said,
I did not read all the comments (so I apologize to those who are not in the wrong)
But you are all idiots, I didn't get from this article that Apple games are better than console and pc games.
It just simply states that Apple is quite successful in the gaming industry, in other words, their games are selling.

Not everyone one wants to pay 60$ for a game and then have to isolate themselves from the world to be able to finish it in a week (or more if its a game like WoW). So again, for you feeble minded pple out there, Apple games are not better than console games....Apple games are just very successful, people are buying them.

Yeah, exactly. The other issue with the Apple games model, is that, similar to the other developers developing software for the App Store, competition is very difficult. There are a lot of great games, as there are apps, that customers never even see.

Not only is there a HUGE difference between console games and mobile games (A difference this article tries to play down), but it's easier to get console games in front of customers as well. They see them at stores, they are barraged with advertisements (Which these small App Store developers can't afford), etc.

The fact of the matter is that, though Apple is making money on the App Store and the games, the developers often are not. This model is unsustainable...

excalpius said,
It is more accurate to say that Apple is gaining a very strong foothold in a handheld niche of gaming, not competing credibly with $50+ premium titles.

And then you find Need For Speed Undercover on your iPod for $4.99 while it's $20 for the Nintendo DS or $30 for the PSP.

If this is the start of a trend, you bet that Apple will win some ground. You don't need $50+ game to be credible.

I cant wait cause I would much rather play games on a 4x5 screen then my 55 inch flat panel.This is a dream come true for me it has been such a chore playing on the large screen.I just hope they have a lot of game that arent in color when this takes off.

The iPhone/iPod Touch has reasonably good graphics, comparable to a PSP or a DSi. Now while it can't compete with consoles or PC games, it can totally compete in the portable market. The problem with games these days is that they require too much thinking, and getting into their storylines takes time. What if you're only looking to kill some time before a meeting or while waiting in a line? Apple isn't trying to appeal to hardcore gamers; rather, they're aiming at the casual gaming market, much like the Wii, which has made quite a bit of cash for Nintendo. Just like the Wii revolutionized casual gaming with a fun new way to play, Apple is doing the same with their iPhone/iPod Touch.

That article is embarrassing. It's utter crap that Apple will compete with DS in handheld gaming ... Barely any developers spend more than a couple of weeks making an iPhone game and there's barely any games with any depth. The handheld console market is full of fully polished games. The iPhone market is FILLED with terrible 5 minute wastes of time. 99c sure, but you get what you pay for. I love my iPod Touch but I wasted a lot of money on a lot of junk and it's just not worth it.

Apple will never compete in the gaming market.

Spirit Dave said,
That article is embarrassing. It's utter crap that Apple will compete with DS in handheld gaming ... Barely any developers spend more than a couple of weeks making an iPhone game and there's barely any games with any depth. The handheld console market is full of fully polished games. The iPhone market is FILLED with terrible 5 minute wastes of time. 99c sure, but you get what you pay for. I love my iPod Touch but I wasted a lot of money on a lot of junk and it's just not worth it.

Apple will never compete in the gaming market.

Agreed. This article is really poor. It's as if it were written to be misleading.

I'd like to add ... I'm part of an iPhone development team too ... I'm not some bitter fool ... I know the fact that the market is saturated and wont ever dip into the DS etc ...

O god. More idiots saying that games on the iTouch/iPhone are competing against PC and console games. Even DSi and PSP.

These people need to stop listening Apple's BS they are feeding everyone. That bit in the last Apple event about their gaming status only made me cringe.

Basically... iTouch/iPhone gaming DOES NOT even compare to any other gaming format out there.

necrosis said,
O god. More idiots saying that games on the iTouch/iPhone are competing against PC and console games. Even DSi and PSP.

These people need to stop listening Apple's BS they are feeding everyone. That bit in the last Apple event about their gaming status only made me cringe.

Basically... iTouch/iPhone gaming DOES NOT even compare to any other gaming format out there.

Search for "iPhone gameplay" on youtube and watch some actual gameplay footage. The iPhone/iPod touch is better in terms of graphics and sound when compared to the DS, and about the same level as the PSP.

It basically lacks good controls for some games. But if the game is geared towards the touch interface then it works great. I don't really care for onscreen controls, however :(. That is where it is lacking. It would be awesome if Apple would release a standard controller accessory to give us a gamepad of sorts.

We're not talking about handheld children's games. The article makes it clear that they feel this 99 cent TigerToy games are competing with Call of Duty level console/PC content at $50.

That is flat out LUDICROUS.

They are competing with the mini market PSP, free flash games on the PC, etc. But that's like comparing rotten apple wedges with a bunch of fresh bananas.

excalpius said,
We're not talking about handheld children's games. The article makes it clear that they feel this 99 cent TigerToy games are competing with Call of Duty level console/PC content at $50.

That is flat out LUDICROUS.

They are competing with the mini market PSP, free flash games on the PC, etc. But that's like comparing rotten apple wedges with a bunch of fresh bananas.


Exactly...The question apple needs to ask is, will people be willing to pay more than $1 for games? Because if they ever intend to offer better quality games that will compete with the DS or PSP, the development costs, and subsequently the retail price of the games will increase...

iamwhoiam said,
Apple didn't even enter into the minds of people when they [Apple] had a game machine years and years ago.

Wow, I missed that entirely. I must Wiki this... LOL

Tom W said,
Umm, what's a PSP or DSI then? That's what this is linking.

It mentioned Microsoft and $50 games, which obviously points to consoles.

Yes, the PSP and DS have something to worry about - but why even mention Microsoft in this article? Comparing the iPhone/iPod Touch game market to the massive console market is ridiculous. Why in the world would MS care? It's not like people are going to start playing Call of Duty and World of Warcraft on their iPhones.

JonathanMarston said,
It mentioned Microsoft and $50 games, which obviously points to consoles.

Yes, the PSP and DS have something to worry about - but why even mention Microsoft in this article? Comparing the iPhone/iPod Touch game market to the massive console market is ridiculous. Why in the world would MS care? It's not like people are going to start playing Call of Duty and World of Warcraft on their iPhones.

Exactly. It's a horrible article.

But hey, Apple's absence from the game shows shows their confidence in their ability to dominate the gaming industry. That sentence in particular really had me laughing... LOL

I actually think it's more likely they will position the Apple TV as a console/media center of sorts that may even dock with the iPod Touch. I recently blogged about this.

Wonder how many detractors here will admit being wrong once the PsP go fails and the iTouch starts getting games on par with DS/DSi/PsP games, it's just a matter of time

Hell I've been torn between all three and I finally hit on the touch because it seems to be the most expandable of the three platforms

Agreed; the thing I think many are missing here is that, yes, mobile gaming isn't as big today, but it's a market that's exploding right now. We can't really even tell how big it'll grow at this point, but I think it'll be big.

Wow, Apple wouldn't know good gaming if it bit Jobs in the arse. Portable gaming is a tiny niche market compared to PC and console gaming. And as said before this is a great example of why the Times is slowly becoming irrelevant, complete loss of touch with the rest of the world.

If Sony and Microsoft are nervous it's not because Apple threatens the gaming industry, its because Apple has found a niche that has profit potential for very little investment.

Haha, this is ridiculous. iPod/iPhone can hardly compete with the DSi or the PSP, let alone PCs and consoles. Is this a joke ? come on ... Well, sure if you have an AppStore whith thousands of "games" at 99c I suspect there will be a vast volume of games bought, but this has NOTHING to do with the games industry for the simple reason that games are a bonus on the iPod/iPhone, not a selling point (even if Apple wants to change that). When you want to buy a portable console you don't consider an iPod as a choice, at least not yet.

acnpt said,
Well people buy iphones because of the AppStore.
I play more games on my iphone, than my DS or PSP.

Most people I know that are buying iPhone don't even know about the AppStore. They are getting it here because is a "trend" and is cool.

However, I prefer devices with Windows Mobile.

I play mostly on my computers and from time to time (depending on the game) in my Xbox360.

The iPhone will hardly become a portable gaming device like the PSP o DS.

There is nothing like consoles or PC's for gaming.

Emerging as a big player? Maybe for the volume of game sales through the AppStore. But seriously, Apple isn't threatening any of the console makers. Let alone PC's...

Perhaps that business model is good for profit margin but I don't think in the long term Apple will commit it's phone/player hardware for gaming.

excalpius said,
There's seemingly no limit to what the niche users will do to self-delude themselves.

Uh, this is big business and companies are moving to mobile device development all the time, and it's not untrue that Apple is emerging as a big player in the mobile gaming indudstry. The title could have been more specific, although the actual article content is alright.

Even better news for Apple is that I, like others here, believe that mobile gaming will keep eating away market share from PC's and consoles. I don't even think it'll take very long. PC gaming is even today in a pretty poor shape compared to consoles with only WoW, a few RTS games, and some popular shooters making up the vast majority of its market. Simultaneously as the mobile gaming market is exploding right now as the devices keep gaining performance once reserved for more stationary devices.

I'm just waiting for some killer MMO game for the iPhone that'll merge reality and fantasy via the built-in GPS device.

Jugalator said,
Uh, this is big business and companies are moving to mobile device development all the time, and it's not untrue that Apple is emerging as a big player in the mobile gaming indudstry. The title could have been more specific, although the actual article content is alright.

Even better news for Apple is that I, like others here, believe that mobile gaming will keep eating away market share from PC's and consoles. I don't even think it'll take very long. PC gaming is even today in a pretty poor shape compared to consoles with only WoW, a few RTS games, and some popular shooters making up the vast majority of its market. Simultaneously as the mobile gaming market is exploding right now as the devices keep gaining performance once reserved for more stationary devices.

I'm just waiting for some killer MMO game for the iPhone that'll merge reality and fantasy via the built-in GPS device.


The day that MMO for the iphone will come out, I predict a massive increase in the number of people walking into lamposts...that is if they even leave their bed.

Plus, PC gaming isn't in a poor shape..sure consoles are gaining more and more market share, but pc gaming isn't out just yet.

Playing FPS and RTS games, in my opinion, is 10x better on the pc than on a console.

Jugalator said,
...it's not untrue that Apple is emerging as a big player in the mobile gaming indudstry. The title could have been more specific...

Indeed. When those of us who are serious gamers see the iPhone talked about in that light, we can't help but laugh.

The iPhone is eating into the bottom of the barrel TigerToys/handheld gaming market. It's its own business sure enough, but it's no threat to console or PC gaming.

So it sells for 99cents. Given apple will take 50% before anyone else, do u really want to develop games for them?

Dodgy said,
So it sells for 99cents. Given apple will take 50% before anyone else, do u really want to develop games for them?

Developers do and will - yes 50% is a lot to lose - but some independant developers have made hundreds of thousends for games on there and they deserve to as well - some of the games are superb

Dodgy said,
So it sells for 99cents. Given apple will take 50% before anyone else, do u really want to develop games for them?

Apple takes 30%.

And yes if you manage to sell say 30.000 copies to the 50M iphone/ipod Touch users, I think the money is preety good for me. On this platform people buy more and are less reluctant, it's right there, just a click away and costs just 99 cents. Many people will buy it!

If it wasn't for the app store then probably people would not develop for the iPhone that much.
The 30% Apple keeps is not that much if you consider that you get hosting and mainly marketing. Apps without the app store would not make that much money.

Cost aside, I think the iPhone/iPod touch wins with gaming because it remembers what's fun about games. Remember the good old days when it was fun playing games? That's what Apple's bringing back. There's simply too much thinking involved in games these days. Games aren't meant for thinking - they're meant for relaxing!

Steeley said,
Cost aside, I think the iPhone/iPod touch wins with gaming because it remembers what's fun about games. Remember the good old days when it was fun playing games? That's what Apple's bringing back. There's simply too much thinking involved in games these days. Games aren't meant for thinking - they're meant for relaxing!

Quite honestly, it's more or less a rehash of flash games on it. There's not much new or revolutionary about it. As mentioned in my above post it's seldom to even get a good game, as with flash games online. Some are fun time wasters you can go back to, other several million are mostly primitive rubbish plain and simple.

Digix said,
Quite honestly, it's more or less a rehash of flash games on it. There's not much new or revolutionary about it. As mentioned in my above post it's seldom to even get a good game, as with flash games online. Some are fun time wasters you can go back to, other several million are mostly primitive rubbish plain and simple.

That is rubbish - there are loads of great games on it that are not flash rehashes. Trism, Luxor, Dexter, Spider, Zen Bound, Castle of Magic etc etc - loads. There is a reason that magazines like Edge are now reviewing iPod/iPhone games and it isn't because they are Flash games, that is for sure.

Digix said,
Quite honestly, it's more or less a rehash of flash games on it. There's not much new or revolutionary about it. As mentioned in my above post it's seldom to even get a good game, as with flash games online. Some are fun time wasters you can go back to, other several million are mostly primitive rubbish plain and simple.

There are some games on par in terms of content, graphics, and sound with PSP and DS. What lacks is the controls aren't classic ones.

Steeley said,
Cost aside, I think the iPhone/iPod touch wins with gaming because it remembers what's fun about games. Remember the good old days when it was fun playing games? That's what Apple's bringing back. There's simply too much thinking involved in games these days. Games aren't meant for thinking - they're meant for relaxing!

Again, people like you who have ADD just simply can't handle a game that's a bit more complicated than point-and-shoot games.

There's nothing wrong with the new games, you're just stuck in an old dimension of gaming.

LiquidSolstice said,
Again, people like you who have ADD just simply can't handle a game that's a bit more complicated than point-and-shoot games.

There's nothing wrong with the new games, you're just stuck in an old dimension of gaming.

Wow...aren't you nasty.

LiquidSolstice said,
Again, people like you who have ADD just simply can't handle a game that's a bit more complicated than point-and-shoot games.

There's nothing wrong with the new games, you're just stuck in an old dimension of gaming.


I agree.

This is quite interesting and great for consumers. I have an iPhone and some of my favourite games are simple 59p purchases for it. The Deep pinball is better than any pinball game on the DS or PSP. geoDefense, GD Swarm and Flight Control are all great games that I have spent many hours playing. Anybody with a Mac can pay the $99 to make an iPhone app and publish it to the App Store for free or a buck or two. Not have to spend thousands on an SDK and then worry about distribution, etc.

I think this is more luck than design for Apple, I don't think they thought it would be quite as popular as a games console as it is but they learnt quickly as was evident with the improved graphics processing in the iPhone. I would love to see Sony and Nintendo open up development on their systems to allow for independant developers to work on the systems. If they don't they may find themselves start to lose a lot of market share as almost every game on the iPhone/iPod Touch is under £5 whereas almost every game for the DS and PSP is at least double that, often quadruple.

Whatever happens it should be an interesting time for handheld gaming

I dunno about other people but games on ipod touch even at 99c or more they sure do suck and how 26 becomes 3 million is people rip off each other re brand it and release the same regurgitated stuff over and over. As with all platforms even if you have 10 million damn games you'd be lucky if a dozen stand out and are really good that make you want to play over and over. Since I've had my ipod touch the only game I've ever had on it is solitaire and black jack because thats about as good as it gets imo.

There is a reason that even the NY Times is losing money, and they can't blame the internet for that.

There is exactly NULL relation between the iphone/ipod to consoles or PC gaming.

I'd disagree, PC gaming and console gaming will likely be replaced by mobile gaming. Imagine having a device that you can bring with you everywhere and can plug into the TV to transform it into a console. Tegra is the start of powerful mobile gaming but I think in 20 years this will be the norm.

Tom W said,
I'd disagree, PC gaming and console gaming will likely be replaced by mobile gaming. Imagine having a device that you can bring with you everywhere and can plug into the TV to transform it into a console. Tegra is the start of powerful mobile gaming but I think in 20 years this will be the norm.

Console gaming will be always way ahead of mobile gaming. So no, it will never replace console gaming.

I thought this title was from The Onion. 8P

Mobile gaming has caught up with gaming from 20 years ago. That's still a LONG way to go, baby.

I'm with the pro-console market, the mobile market is light years behind, and is just pulling the style of games seen post Mega Drive, there's a heck of a long way to go to beat the PS3 / PC market!

im a PC gamer personally, and love it, mobile gaming on a little screen is just frustrating, but i think thats dependent on the genre
Online games on the go is a distant dream still, since service providers charge an arm and a leg for decent wireless internet

Comparing a 99 cents apple store game that you can complete in 30 mins to a $50 sony game, for example something such as metal gear / gran turismo... they are hardly in the same field.

Apple aren't even targeting the majority of the gaming industry.

excalpius said,
I thought this title was from The Onion. 8P

Mobile gaming has caught up with gaming from 20 years ago. That's still a LONG way to go, baby.

And whe it catches up to today's gaming, where do you think console gaming will be?

No Tom, in 20 years when Tegra looks likes today's Crysis and has high resolution, future Crysis will have insane resolution look like reality.

The majority of the gaming market are casual players. In otherwords, most people who would want a portable music player would not neccessaily want dedicated video game hardware.

The threat isn't in the form of better technology for gaming. The iPhone and iPod touch have some definitive flaws when compared to a psp or even the ds. The threat is the larger market the iPhone and touch appeal to.

As for me, I haven't touched my ds since I got my iPhone. There is a decent enough selection of ammusing games in the app store that keep me busy when I'm on travel.

Tom W said,
I'd disagree, PC gaming and console gaming will likely be replaced by mobile gaming. Imagine having a device that you can bring with you everywhere and can plug into the TV to transform it into a console. Tegra is the start of powerful mobile gaming but I think in 20 years this will be the norm.
I disagree as well. Maybe this will work for students but for me and other adults I don't think this will be appealing.

I also disagree. Gaming on mobile devices is fun, but a certain way of playing is present especially in shooters that makes them far better on a PC. Not to mention whatever you can do in miniature, you will almost always be able to do better full scale.

Tom W said,
I'd disagree, PC gaming and console gaming will likely be replaced by mobile gaming. Imagine having a device that you can bring with you everywhere and can plug into the TV to transform it into a console. Tegra is the start of powerful mobile gaming but I think in 20 years this will be the norm.


Most funny comment I've read this month, thanks for the laugh Tom! hehe

Glendi said,
Console gaming will be always way ahead of mobile gaming. So no, it will never replace console gaming.

I've heard these broad covering claims before.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” -Bill Gates (1981)

Never say never i say.

Mobile gaming at the moment is not close to console gaming, but who knows what is coming in the future. Consoles might go mobile. mobiles might get more power.
/shrug.

Glendi said,
And whe it catches up to today's gaming, where do you think console gaming will be?


it would be like where today's consoles are compared to the consoles 20 years ago?