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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