Who’s a bigger threat to Nintendo
, Microsoft or Apple? According to Nintendo the answer is clearly Apple. Nintendo has seen declining sales in recent years and Apple is clearly to blame. The mighty Nintendo once had the lion’s share of the portable gaming market, but that is no longer the case.
When Apple blasted onto the scene with the App Store, Nintendo was unprepared for its immediate success. Nintendo has dealt with competitors in the past, remember the Atari Jaguar and the Sega Nomad. But with Apple’s “Think Different” approach to selling software, Nintendo now faces a genuine threat to their position as market leader. Apple now claims a 50 percent market share of the handheld video game segment. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime recently stated:
“Do I think that in the near term [Apple] can hurt us more than Microsoft? Absolutely.”
At the annual September music event, Apple had much to say about the role they now play in the portable gaming market. Apple now claims to be the number one mobile gaming device worldwide and that they outsell the Nintendo DS
and Sony PSP
combined. The App Store is key to this success and Apple knows it. The App store offers customers such convenience and value that Nintendo’s reliance on cartridges becomes a hard sell, especially in this economy. People can now buy quality games for as little as 99 cents. Nintendo needs a new game plan if they ever hope to compete with this new way of selling games.
Of course, it isn’t “game over” for Nintendo quite yet. The ace up their sleeve will always be master game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and Mario. Apple does not yet have a video game mascot to help sell their brand and likely never will. Of course Apple is one of the most recognizable brand names in the world, but I don’t think you’ll ever see the Apple logo featured in a platform game, at least not officially.
When the iPod Touch was first released it was a though of as a stripped down iPhone without the telephone. Apple soon made the distinction clear, the iPod Touch was branded a gaming machine and not inferior to the iPhone in any way. This approach has been extremely successful. Another advantage Apple has is the compatibility of games across multiple devices.
Nintendo can hardly compete with Apples well establish app store. The App store literally has tens of thousand of games available, a large percentage of which are free . An iOS device is capable of much more than just game-play and because of this non-gamers have the opportunity to play games on a device they already own. Apple can sell to a segment of society that would never consider buying a dedicated gaming machine.
I own a Nintendo DS, a Sony PSP and an iPhone 4. I am rarely without my iPhone and because of this, I now mainly buy Apps. Over the years I’ve played a few dozen games on the DS and PSP. Since I’ve had an iPhone, I’ve played hundreds of games and currently have about fifty games on my device. Can you imagine carrying fifty game cartridges with you at all times. The iOS as a gaming platform is a tough act to follow, given the ease of use and low-cost of games.
Nintendo is gambling that their new 3DS model will offer gamers something so unique that people will be compelled to buy one. Unfortunately, it is not schedules to be released until next year, well after the lucrative holiday season. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Nintendo and I hope they can adapt to this new way of doing business. Of course, I would love to see Super Mario World 64 make an appearance on the iPhone. That will be a cold, cold day in hell I’m afraid.
Source: All Things Digital