The latest in a series of round table industry events held in the UK, and featuring a panel of experts in the field of commercial software development, has warned that ignoring the popularity of casual and mobile gaming is a big mistake for any successful digital development strategy. Interestingly, it also suggested that using the iPad as a TV games controller could be the key to ongoing success for games developers.
The panel of experts at the event dismissed the relatively poor sales of the Nintendo 3DS portable console as being an indicator of failing interest in the sector. Stuart Howarth, co-founder of KOKO Digital, instead blamed the poor sales on "the popularity of smartphones and the changing attitudes amongst consumers to buying cheap games". Indeed, Howarth insisted that consumers are "buying phones to buy games cheaply" which means they "aren't buying consoles because they would then have to spend £40 on a game. They want to buy games for 69p instead". Citing the launch of the new Sony PlayStation phone as an example of how to embrace market trends, Howarth went on to warn even the biggest businesses of the dangers of ignoring the mobile gaming sector. "Companies as large and powerful as Nintendo simple haven't embraced the mobile phone quite like Sony has" Howarth concluded, adding "If they don't play catch up soon they might suffer the same demise as Sega".
Of course, nobody in their right mind would suggest that console gaming is dead in the water, at least not amongst hard-core gamers. However, advances in micro-purchasing systems have helped drive casual gaming before a much wider and hugely valuable audience of consumers who might not otherwise consider themselves gamers. Valuable because, while the per-transaction value is much lower, these people are much more likely to buy such small spend purchases on impulse. And that's without considering the potential for add-ons that has been exploited so profitably in the iPhone game app market for example.
One member of the panel at the round table event, Deri Jones who is a director of Scivisum, even compared the rise of the mobile gaming market to that of the PC, arguing that "in the beginning we had Apple and we bought hardware and software then IBM came along and developed their standards. Anyone could buy an Intel chip and anyone could buy the Microsoft software and the Taiwanese manufacturers were all competing with each other to make better and better hardware. It's the same in games - why do I need hardware dedicated to games? It's the same with sat navs now too".
So taking all the above into account, what is the secret of successful digital development in this increasingly mobile age? According to Carl Browns, sales and marketing director for Wirebox and Flairsoft, the key is quite simply consolidation. "The iPad 2 can integrate with Apple TV now too so it's moving from just gaming on the iPad to gaming on TV, using the iPad as a controller" Browns said, concluding "it's all about consolidation and companies delivering more and more in one place".
Are you developing for the mobile market? If not, why not and if you are have you left other platforms behind in your rush to embrace the future of hardware? What are your thoughts about the iPad, or any mobile device, as a controller for TV-based gaming? Let us know by using the comment DaniWeb system.