Advent Of Smartphones Have 'Hurt' Sony And Nintendo

By Colin Tan on April 23, 2011, 6:09PM EDT
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With the rise of smartphones and the sector eating up more and more of the market pie, both Sony and Nintendo are certainly "hurt" from the competition, according to GLM Games' Graeme Devine - who previously worked with Apple. By the end of last year, iOS and Android's share of the portable gaming market had grown to a significant 34 percent, almost double that of 2009's market share.

"I don't think it's a matter of will they be hurt by that, I think they've already been hurt by that. I think that Sony and Nintendo, behind closed doors, their legs are shaking," Devine told IndustryGamers. "They have to be. It's like trying to ignore global warming. These things are here."

Devine raises a good point in that most consumers only ever have so much time to spare on entertainment. With the rise of mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone and other such tablets and smartphones, people can suddenly literally just throw aside seconds at a time to whatever it is that they do on their mobile devices, be it reading the news, playing games, or checking their emails and message.

"I think these smartphones and the tablets and Facebook, they all take away minutes per day. And you have maybe an hour per day two years ago to play Halo. Now, smartphones and tablets and Facebook have all eaten into that. Thirty seconds at a time throughout the day, and you've got your fix of gaming in. I think there's still room for Halo, because gosh, I love Halo (laughter). I think time is taken away, and it's not necessarily a dollar problem, it's a time problem," he said.

"I think if Sony or Nintendo got on stage and acknowledged the problem, and said, 'Look, smartphones are here to stay. Great SDK, great tools, great entry barrier for independent developers; we're going to open up and do the same thing. We're going to make a $100 SDK for the 3DS and we're going to open up the 3DS store for independent developers, and not provide a division, as Microsoft has done on Xbox Live... Put them together. Let the ecosystem win. I think that would change things up. I don't think they would ever go there and do that."

Sony might be trying to settle in with the competition with the upcoming PlayStation Suite, said to launch some time this fiscal year - probably alongside the NGP, Sony's successor to the PlayStation Portable. PlayStation Suite will offer not only PlayStation certified games on the NGP, but across the Android platform and, hopefully, other mobile platforms as well.

"PS Suite will make PS content available on Android smartphones and tablets," Sony claimed. "The target platform of PS Suite is Android. We will also launch PlayStation Certified to perform content-quality testing in order to ensure PS quality across various devices."

Sony stressed when they unveiled the new service that "users have freedom of choice of their preferred hardware."

However, that may not be enough to compete with the rise of Apple's App Store, where a plethora of applications are available for a really low cost, around a dollar, if not entirely free. ngmoco's Neil Young told IndustryGamers, "It's really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality."

Source: Industry Gamers

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