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Is The Gaming Industry Being Killed By The App Store?

Is The Gaming Industry Being Killed By The App Store?

October 18, 2010
I’m not surprising anyone by saying the App Store has changed the way consumers buy applications. After all, just three years ago the store didn’t exist, nor did the iPad. And at the time, our first generation iPhones made calls, played music and showed off our pictures, but didn't do much else. Today, developers around the world are creating apps by the thousands for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, and some are getting rich. Now, one Nintendo DS developer is crying foul. Dan O’Leary, founder of n-Space claims that the game industry is “a mess” thanks to iPhone gaming. In a blog post announcing the layoff of some of its employees, O’Leary states:
The App Store has disrupted our industry in the same way iTunes changed consumer expectations for music. People that used to buy many games every year now buy a few AAA titles, supplementing their need with games that are free or cost less than a pack of gum.
Sure, it’s easy to blame the App Store for game industry woes. But, is it justified? For one thing, the world economy has been pretty bad for three years. Consumers don’t have as much disposable income as before. Most gaming apps sell for under $9.99 in the App Store. Nintendo DS games are expensive by comparison. O’Leary’s upcoming title GoldenEye 007, for example is available for pre-order from Amazon for $39.99. And then there is the question of portability. If you want to purchase a game for the Nintendo DS, Wii or XBox, you need to buy a physical copy of it. In the App Store, all games are downloadable. Within seconds, you can be playing the game on your iPod touch and not on your way to a store to purchase the item. Plus, many of the games can be used across all of Apple’s devices for one price. Try playing an XBox game on your Wii unit; you can’t. While it’s always sad to hear about company layoffs, pointing fingers isn’t the answer. O’Leary must not hate iPhone gaming too much. According to Pocket Gamer, “O'Leary revealed development of an iPhone and iPod touch game at n-Space that will be announced next week.” Interesting. What do you think? Is the App Store killing traditional gaming? Leave your comments below.

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