Accessible Apple Shaping Casual Gaming Industry

By September 28, 2009

It seemed to be a good week to be a gamer. This week Nintendo announced its first US price cut for the Wii, readying them for Holiday Season competition. The other black belt game consoles, Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 Elite recently dropped a bill off their price tag as well. In the distant future of Spring 2010 , a WiiMote-reminiscent motion controller will be available for the PS3. Back to the present, the Tokyo Game Show this week in Japan showcases the latest and the greatest for these platforms and the burgeoning market for cell phone games. This last example documents the profound shift in the gaming industry, formerly populated with expensive bleeding-edge technology and hardcore gamers. But what started with the Wii and games like Guitar Hero and their friendliness toward casual gamers is picking up momentum, and some say its because of Apple.

The iPhone and the iPod Touch, are the new ubiquitous game platform. Less expensive than dedicated mobile game hardware - the iPhone 3G is only $99, whereas the Nintendo DSi and the old Playstation Portable both cost $169. The 8GB iPod Touch is slightly more expensive at $199. Its the logical progression for the casual gaming movement, going to portable devices that many consumers already own.

Category numbers make this development even more clear. The New York Times breaks down the new game titles shown at the Tokyo Game Show - of 758 titles this year, 168 were for cell phone platforms, more than twice the titles in that area last year.

This trend may only pick up speed with Apple's plans to roll out more affordable models of its hardware line. The uncertain prices from AppleInsider see the consumer-level MacBook drop further from $999, as well as the Tablet appear next year for between six and eight hundred dollars. While unsubstantiated, the prices seem consistent with Apple's recent decisions.

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