: Rants & Raves : Dave F. :
If you haven’t noticed yet, there has been a significant increase in the amount of games made specifically for mobile devices in the past year. Everyone has a mobile device of some sort, whether it’s an iDevice, Android device, or some 3rd party smart phone. Almost every child, and most adults, either know of or have grown severely addicted to one or more of the Angry Birds games. It’s practically impossible to not notice.
What I seem to be seeing less and less of, especially with teenagers, is the use of more traditional portable game devices, such as the Nintendo DS, or Sony PSP. Sure, I have a DSi, but I rarely play it. I think that I currently own a grand total of 5 games for it – 3 of which were gifts. I just don’t buy them. My nieces all play games on their smartphones, but don’t own, or even want to own a portable game system. The one niece who does own a DSi hasn’t touched it in about a year.
So, what is it that makes us lean more towards gaming on our mobile devices? I think that, at least in my experience, it’s the price point of the games, and the perception of worth towards the device itself. Obviously, this is just one guys opinion, but that’s what I’m here for, after all.
Think about it. When we set out to decide upon which system we want to buy, the main concern is usually “How much is this going to cost me?”, and so we start to compare. The DSi – or the new 3DS – started around $169. The PSP costs about $130 now, with the new Vita averaging about $250. That’s quite a cost for a device whose only function is entertainment on a small scale. None of these really serve a practical, everyday purpose.
Now, let’s compare that to the new smartphones on the market. True, most Android devices are topping $500, and the iPhone is around $649 for the 16GB 4S, ranging up to $849 for the 64GB version (all device only). Though this sounds expensive, remember that most phones are purchased with a plan, which brings the cost down significantly. That 64GB iPhone would drop down to $399, and the Android devices are around $199-$249 for the most expensive models.
As you know, when you purchase a smartphone, you’re not simply purchasing a mere telecommunication device anymore. Instead, you are purchasing a mini computer. It can make calls, surf the internet, take high-definition pictures or videos – some even in 3D – use countless amounts of applications that can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace or Apple App Store, and – here’s the big one – play video games.
At this time, there are around 400,000 apps available on the Android Marketplace and almost 600,000 on the Apple App Store, and these numbers are growing rapidly. The best part is that most of the games are available for no more than $4.99, with only a small percentage costing over $14.99. Even better than that, it’s estimated that around 68% of the apps available on the Android Marketplace are completely FREE, although that percentage is significantly less on the Apple App Store. (Distimo Blog)
My point is simple. People are veering away from traditional handheld gaming systems and almost diving at smartphones and other mobile devices (can’t forget iPads and Android tablets) like rabid dogs attacking the neighborhood mailman. Angry Birds had the highest number of copies sold out of any game for any system in history with a whopping 350 million plus copies in the past 2 years. To put this into perspective, the core line of Mario video games (the previous title holder) has sold around 262 million copies since its creation of Donkey Kong back in 1981.
Could this be because of the price difference? Could it be the availability of the simple download rather than the run to the store? Could it just be that our taste in games is changing?This may be comparing apples to oranges – or pigs to goombas – but I think it says something. People like great games at decent pricing. Do you think that other game consoles may begin to follow suit and start lowering prices of standard console games to remain competitive? Or do you think that they may just begin to produce more games for smartphones? Or both? I hate to finish this with an old fashioned hanger but I suppose only time will tell. What do you think?