In the "news" that the iPod touch will somehow trump the Nintendo DS Lite as the portable handheld of choice, we decided to discuss the merits of both of the systems and how they would effect each other's markets. My take?
Personally, the iPod touch thingy will sell a ton of games, but it won't replace the DS because they're two different markets. Saying that it will succeed is a no-brainer, but gamers buy video game systems, not mp3 players, for games. Making a DVD player that toasts bread will sell because people like DVD players, but it won't replace people's toasters.
Anybody who underestimates the iPhone is being naive. That's not to say that it will dominate the DS -- that's going to be incredibly tough to do given that it, like the Wii, has cornered a huge market. However, one can never write off the power of a product that has a lower case "i" preceding its name. People desire the iPhone simply because of the name, and that is unbridled marketing power. Speaking in terms of pure brand names, I would say that Apple and the "i" products are way more commercially viable than the Nintendo name. People buy the Wii because it's that cute white box they saw on the news. People by the iPhone because it's an iPhone. That is the kind of clout that makes Apple a potentially huge future contender in the games industry.
What will prevent the iPhone from becoming a major force in gaming is that they're tied to AT&T. They're cutting off a pretty significant chunk of the market who can't or won't switch service providers, and that's the limitation for it becoming a full-fledged gaming machine. Imagine if the 360 only worked if you had Comcast cable.
I know they have the iPod Touch, but it doesn't have all the power of the iPhone, and the lack of Internet will severely limit it. If Apple ever opens it up to everyone, it has a shot as a serious force in gaming, but as it stands now I don't think it does.
We actually have a DVD player and a TV in our kitchen. It does not make toast, though.
I see your point, and I agree, but I think that a person overtly stating that the iPod will trump the DS is preposterous. I also think that they will sell a lot of games on the iPhone platform, but I don't think that our standard gaming companies will move one way or the other with the platform.
Looking at what's been sold and released on cell phones, you see that gaming companies have converted their older titles to be released on those platforms. Monkey Ball sold a ton on the iPhone, but that's an old game (also Sonic for the Nano). What I think you will see are the traditional companies taking a piece of the pie by converting their older titles for sale on the iPod Touch, but then see a new set of companies making Touch-specific titles. More likely than not, these companies will be the ones that are currently making Web browser games or flash games.
Oh, I am fairly confident that the iPhone will likely not trump the DS. It does have too much of a cornered market right now. However, as a prep tool for potential future victories in gaming, I think it will be quite significant.
Jonathan Ross already made the argument that I was going to make (damn you!). Until the iPhone is available to non-AT&T customers, it won't make a dent in the sales of the DS and its games. Hell, I'm not sure that it will do so even after I can get one on Verizon. Still, now that the cheapest iPhone is $199, the price point isn't as much of an obstacle -- sure, you can pick up a DS Lite for $129.99, but you can obviously do much more than just play games with your iPhone.
But while I can see a niche market developing for gaming on the iPhone, I can't see it ever coming close to, let alone overtaking, traditional handheld gaming (i.e., DS and PSP). People don't buy the iPhone for the games that are available on it, and the device isn't likely to be anyone's primary gaming platform. In addition, many of the games that are currently out on the iPhone are, as Dyson said, older titles (and there's also your typical portable fare, like Tetris and its ilk). It doesn't help that the iPhone has draconian restrictions on it, and don't forget that the cheapest plan you can currently get for it will cost you $70 a month plus tax.
[DSi was announced midway through this email chain!]
Since this bled over to this week, and the new DSi was announced, any thoughts on carrying on from here and combining them both? Because now we'll have a DS with a camera, yes, a camera?!
I was about to shoot out that that it couldn't be considered a camera since the resolution is so small, but then realize my iSight and PS Eye is the same resolution and it works out fine. Maybe I was wrong that the camera was a waste, but I'd still rather use my digital camera for such things. But one thing that will make the device ever so enticing is what Nintendo will do with it, which is exactly what Nintendo is known for.
I'd love to have it, but I'm not completely sure if I can justify the purchase since my DSPhatter (extended battery attached to make it extra big) is still ticking long and strong. Here's hoping it dies in time?
You should have gone with your gut instinct... it's not a camera.
If the DSi isn't as epic as the Game Boy Camera, then Nintendo is dead to me.
Mike "Savant" Ferry
Yeah, I'm a little late to the party, but I've got a few things to say.
First off, the iPhone/iPod Touch as a supplemental gaming device is wonderful. There are some seriously inventive games out there, but nothing as polished as the top-tier handheld games. Granted, iPhone gaming is still in its infancy and will only get better with time.
Is it going to usurp the DS? Hell no.
Oh, and the DSi? What the !@#$ is that? The DS Lite was perfectly fine and didn't need these "improvements." Third-gen DS? I think not. I'd rather Nintendo have released a solution to play DS games on our TV. That would save my eyes a lot of strain whilst playing Phoenix Wright.
Lastly, Nintendo better not screw up Punch-Out!!. That is all.
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