It is easy to believe news like these:
The International Gamers Survey 2010 has found that iOS has surpassed the Sony PSP and nearly surpassed the Nintendo DS and DSi as the most popular gaming platform in the United States.
Market research and consulting firm Newzoo found that 77 million Americans play games on mobile phones and portable devices. Of those, 40.1 million use the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. The platform of choice for 41.0 million ages 10 and up is the Nintendo DS and DSi. Eightteen million Americans play using Sony’s PSP. The survey also reveals that two-thirds of PSP and iPad users play games at least three days a week, compared to 50 percent on the DS, DSi, iPhone and iPod Touch. Players willing to spend money on games is highest on Nintendo devices (67 percent) and PSP (66 percent) compared to iPod Touch / iPhone (45 percent) and iPad (32 percent).
I did not initially even think iPad as a gaming platform, until yesterday – when an evil and wicked temptress got me hooked into Shadow Cities. Shadow Cities is a clever finnish made MMROPG which combines real life location as a new element into an old genre. It is one of those clever innovations, which makes also otherwise great game stand out from the crowd as a gem. iPhone and iPad are powerfull enough to run the game and provide an addictive experience to gamers.
Similarly I tried few other games, most notably Zeptolab’s ”Cut the rope”. It is quite similar to Rovio’s Angry Birds, having funny brain puzzles, cute graphics and funny sounds. Addictive casual gaming at it’s best.
Apple’s strategy has played out perfectly. As they have packed enough punch into devices like iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad – they have successfully replaced many other dedicated casual gaming platforms from the market. And as their devices are multipurpose devices — true convergence of media, computing and entertainment — it is so much more likelier that users have their iDevice with them, rather than dedicated mobile gaming / entertainment device.
Pricing has also been brilliant. Games for few euros makes it easy for casual gamers to try out numerous games and find much joy and value in simple purchases, even though some of the games would be much simpler than elaborate online Flash-games are. Similarly developers enjoy real earning potential, compared to previous situations when markets were horribly fragmented and different portals and services had very complex rules and monetization opportunities.
iOS games will not replace PC-gaming or console gaming, but they are the most serious casual gaming platform in the market now. Facebook games are peanuts and child’s play compared to possibilities provided by iOS mobile computers and large groups of early adopters – as well as eager masses of followers. Just think about how Shadow Cities can be just the first step in whole new genre of MMROPG which combines real life location, real time operations and augmented reality into seamless gaming experience – which no loger requires you to build a fortress into your basement and slay dragons or ogres in endless raids, but can integrate into your everyday life extending experiences you get from mundane chores like shopping or taking kids to soccer practice.
I don’t know about you, but for me that is an interesting idea and opportunity.