Friday, March 25

The Shape Of Things To Come

Through the week I attended a conference on the future of marketing, media and advertising. It was all very interesting to hear what industry heavy weights thought of the ever changing media landscape, with talks of digital media beginning to step up to take a more prominent position in a brand’s marketing strategy.

As you would expect, there was a lot of ‘iPhone this’ and ‘iPad 2 that’ when all of a sudden an interesting fact was brought to light: The sales of Smartphone’s have now exceeded the sales of PCs.

This was predicted some time ago but what does it mean? It means people are opting to use the Internet on mobile devices, enjoying the simplicity and portability offered by a smaller device. People are asking for more out of their phone and technology is able to answer the call (so to speak).

Some reporters are claiming it is the future of gaming too, with mobile devices now predicted to kill the console.

The comment actually stems from a panel conversation as SXSW last week whereby Rovio Head of Business Development, Peter Vesterbacka, said that, “Innovation in gaming has clearly moved into mobile and social”.

He also mentioned that console games are dying because people are tired of spending big money on games that are all hype and no substance.

Mr Vesterbacka has a good point considering Rovio is the company behind Angry Birds and has made a fortune from sales of the game.

Angry Birds costs $0.99 to buy, cost Rovio $140,000 to develop and has pulled in close to $70 million. In comparison to Grand Theft Auto 4 which sold for $60 at launch* and cost Rockstar $100 million to make.

The margins involved don’t allow console games to evolve and innovate, unlike those created by mobile devices.

Personally I feel like the games on mobile devices are juvenile. I don't mean that in a 'you have to be three to appreciate them' kind of way, I just think they are basic. The hottest mobile games might be fun for a while but they don't last long. Some are quite innovative with their use of touch technology but that doesn't make them better than a console.

Sure they can be entertaining but no mobile game will ever engage me or capture my attention like a PC or console game. They might be useful when you are stuck in traffic or out shopping with the missus but in no way are they a substitute for real games.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the console is on its way to the big media room in the sky? Can you think of an example of a mobile game you would prefer to play over a console game?

 *This doesn’t sound right but the article I pulled it from is from the UK so I’m assuming it’s just a lazy reporter using dollar signs instead of pounds. Either that or shoddy reporting. I don’t know I just find stuff to write about.


  1. I think the $60 call is referring to the US retail price. I was actually thinking of engaging with this topic myself, as I've picked a few apps for Carls' iPad which are not of the educational flavour.

    On face value, I agree with you. Mobile games lack the depth and flare to engage me long-term. However, there are quite a few games targeted at core gamers which are worth a look. Rage HD for example: on-rails FPS with a score attack hook. You can even pick up a watered-down version of Street Fighter IV, which from all accounts plays just fine. GTA: Chinatown Wars is also available via the App Store, and that is anything but a casual game.

    I think the mobile gaming sector will begin to severly encroach on the core portable gaming market. I think home consoles are safe for a while. Look at the PSPgo for example. Sony didn't price their content to compete with digital-only platforms like the iPad/iPhone/Android etc; and it died a brutally-quick death.

    Angry Birds is pretty addictive. I know my wife has spent more time playing this then I have most recent core gaming releases. Beware the iPads of March.

  2. The PSPgo's death could also be attributed to the shitty layout of the portable system. It was terrible.

    Also, I think the 3DS will sell pretty good, as will the newest version of the PSP (Whatever it is to be named). Honestly I don't think that the IPad, apps, whatever, will ever overcome the better portable systems.

    And there is no pokemon app yet!

  3. I loved the PSPgo's button layout. My hand used to cramp constantly with the PSP-2000, and I suffered no discomfort with the go.

    Apparently there have been twice as many 3DS pre-orders than Wii pre-orders in the US. Methinks the 3DS is going to have a very strong launch, despite a terrible line-up of launch titles.

    There may not be any killer apps so to speak, but there are plenty that I have had fun with.