Monday, September 19, 2011

iPhone 5 and Next iPod Touch Could Put Final Nail In Dedicated Gaming Market

The Nintendo 3DS debuted with great fanfare that quickly died and sales at Mario and company sagged.  A price cut did help spur sales for a bit but that likely added very little to the bottom line.  In fact, Nintendo could be selling the 3DS at a loss.  When the 3DS went on sale last spring, it was up against a very vibrant mobile market.

However, it was fight against a 6-month old iPod touch and a 9 month old iPhone.  What are its chances against the iPhone 5 and the next iPod touch?  Not good, I wager.

The sad thing is I see the value in the 3DS but Nintendo has not really kept up with the times.  All those millions of young gamers Nintendo sold tens of millions of Pokemon games to have grown up.  And those that replace them have much more sophisticated tastes.  They're what I like to call "mobile sophisticates".

Gaming is only a part of these mobile sophisticates' life.  They want to be able to use their mobile device for chatting, keeping up with their social life, and other forms of communication.  Even do their homework on them if they so desire.

The iPhone and iPod touch has been able to fill this void.  Specially for those who cannot afford a data plan, a $200 iPod touch would do just fine.  And at $170, the 3DS cannot compete even if it has 3D gaming which most gamers cannot appreciate just yet.

And then there are the games.  While the 3DS is the only place you can go to get exclusive Nintendo titles, Angry Birds has largely filled that void as well.  And top tier games from publishing power houses and studios have begun to hit the App Store in a more consistent basis.  Meanwhile, the 3DS' own store has fill filled with a lot of has-beens.  They're fun games to have.  I was fortunately enough to download 10 of them for free for being an early adopter but I can see why young gamers (and those who are still young at heart like myself) would rather pick up an iPod touch rather than a 3DS.

Slashgear has a post that keep mentioning the iPhone 5 as the killer of 3DS.  Rather, I think it'll be the iPod touch that kills it and the iPhone 5 putting the nail in its coffin.

However, that isn't to say that Nintendo will give up.  It's an innovative company that has a lot of people working there that can stop on a dime and turn the ship around quickly.  I'm hoping that Nintendo will be able to find a way out of this but time is short and they have a lot to learn.  And they have to figure out where the mobile gaming market is headed, now merely trying to figure out where it is at now.

MacDailyNews figure Nintendo will "Zune" the 3DS and perhaps start developing games for the mobile market, a lot like what Sega has done.  I think that would be fine.  Personally, I would like Nintendo to try it again.

Source:  MacDailyNews, Slashgear.

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