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iPhone users ten times as likely to play games vs other mobiles

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
A report detailing handheld gaming adoption by mobile phone users says that downloads of mobile games are up 17% over last year, and that iPhone users are nearly ten times as likely to have downloaded games compared to other mobile phone users.

ComScore's report, cited by InformationWeek, said that just 3.8% of mobile subscribers have downloaded a game to their mobile phone, compared to 32.4% of iPhone users.

The figures aren't much of a surprise given the poor models for mobile phone software stores set up by Apple's rivals, in contrast to the very easy to use iPhone App Store integrated into iTunes and installed directly on the iPhone and the iPod touch for over-the-air mobile application shopping.

Apple's iPhone App Store uses nearly invisible DRM to protect developer's software from being widely pirated, in exchange for store pricing suggestions that result in most titles being $10 or less, with many available for free. That encourages buyers to make purchases and to regularly return for more, which guarantees a steady stream of revenue to keep developers busy thinking up new projects to compete for attention (and dollars) in the Apps Store.

Pathetic competitors in mobile software

In contrast, other mobile software markets have languished. One of the strongest initial mobile software platforms was run by Palm, but it supplied no mechanisms for protecting apps from widespread piracy, imposed no suggested limits on software sales prices, offered no control over quality or content as Apple does, and expected developers to manage merchandizing and retailing themselves. The result was a platform with lots of apps that were either free (but often of low quality) or too expensive to gain traction.

Alternatively, some service providers such as Verizon Wireless have sought to set up rental software markets where users pay a few dollars per month to gain access to a specific game. The monthly rental fees are often nearly as much as full iPhone titles, yet Verizon's selection of Qualcomm BREW games, like similar offerings built using Sun's Java ME or Adobe's Flash Lite, are so extremely basic as to struggle to capture users' attention.

As an example of what you get compared to what you pay for, here's Texas Hold'em for Palm ($20, below left), for Verizon BREW ($8.50, below middle) and for the original iPod ($5, below right).





The iPhone version of Texas Hold'em costs the same $5, but plays in both portrait mode with video of animated characters (below left), or in landscape in a table view (below right). You can swap between game styles by tilting the device. It also supports multiplayer gameplay.





Apple's iPhone apps are built using Cocoa Touch, a full application development platform that shares much in common with the company's Mac OS X development platform. Combined with the sophisticated iPhone hardware platform, with hardware accelerated 3D graphics and a decently powerful CPU, Apple's App Store games even give dedicated handheld gaming devices a run for their money.

The graphics below contrast Sega's Super Monkey Ball on the game-centric, sidetalkin' NGage ($20, top left), a dumbed-down mini-game version for the Nokia N95 ($10, top right), with the iPhone version ($10, middle) and the same title on the Sony PlayStation Portable ($40, bottom).





Economy throws brick through window of opportunity

Another portions of Apple's success has simply been fortunate timing. The company managed to release the iPhone and gain a highly satisfied installed base of millions before the economy tanked.

That makes Apple's head start over Google's Android software marketplace, Microsoft's planned SkyMarket, and other mobile software stores in the works from Palm and T-Mobile even more significant, as it will be far more difficult for those competitors to build competitive new retail markets during the downturn, particularly with Apple already sucking up all the attention and already in a position to offer developers immediate and real revenues with minimal risk right now.

Hardware software integration

Over the past half decade, it has for various reasons proven difficult enough for Microsoft, Sony, and others to sell music and movie downloads in competition with Apple's iTunes. The company's strong lead in mobile app sales is also tied into the brand recognition of the iPhone as a smartphone and the software compatible iPod touch as a phone-free media player and web browser.

That integrated hardware-software punch isn't really being replicated anywhere else apart from RIM's Blackberry and Palm's new webOS Pre. The Blackberry maker has found that it's far harder to deliver a touch screen phone and consumer-friendly software platform at a competitive, profitable price than it was to build glorified pagers for business users who were largely insensitive to hardware costs and software licensing fees. RIM has resorted to selling the Storm below cost and buffeted by a torrential downpour of criticism over its unfinished, buggy software, all just to stake an entry position in the smartphone game.

Palm, meanwhile, is hoping to copy Apple as closely as possible (given the limited revenues it has) and is literally betting the company on its new Pre phone due towards the end of the year. Apple took a significant risk with the iPhone, but it had several other strong businesses to fall back upon, including the Mac, the iPod, software, and digital media sales. Palm faces an all or nothing gamble as the skelaton market of PDAs crumbles to dust and its aging Treo smartphones fade into the sunset.

As a company, Palm is still coasting on multiple injections of investment from Elevation Partners, which pumped $325 million into Palm for a 25% share of the company last summer, and then followed up in December with another $100 million. Its other phone sales are down significantly and its retail store operations are falling apart.

Apple's iPhone platform was announced alongside the $100 million Kleiner Perkins iFund to induce new software development, but the sales of apps themselves, which has already reached a half billion downloads, is creating the most tangible inducement for new development, a force that has grabbed the attention of mobile programmers globally.
post #2 of 24
The success & profitability of the handhelds for Apple has unfortunately led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro platform. Hence, the elimination of "computer" in the company's name.
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post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_s View Post

The success & profitability of the handhelds for Apple has unfortunately led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro platform. Hence, the elimination of "computer" in the company's name.

Probably not just the handhelds within the Mac department the laptops are viewed as more important.
post #4 of 24
While normally averse to smilies and emoticons, I was thinking an icon for an apple and one for a lemon would be helpful for responding to this story.

Maybe games on iPhone OS will get a worthy competitor when (or if) Android gets its act together
-Enz
post #5 of 24
You mean that the App Store has more than just fart apps?
post #6 of 24
I quit gaming 8 year ago (aside from the occasional MAME quickie). But I've downloaded several free iPhone game apps, and even purchased Rolando (highly recommended!).
post #7 of 24
Game Over!
post #8 of 24
Apple's set up a very comfortable position for mobile gaming -- in the U.S. (and probably other western countries), that is. Japan's had a healthy mobile gaming market for years. It's not unified like the App Store, but Nintendo released the Game Boy micro a few years back in response to the competitive cell phone gaming market there.
post #9 of 24
I wonder if this includes all the pirated software that seems to be readily available on other platforms and can be shared by Bluetooth file transfer?

No wonder Nokia had to step in to bail out Symbian.
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post #10 of 24
I continue to be amazed by the iPhone.

Love it or hate it, the fact is, assuming this is even kind-of true (forget the hyperble in the article), the iPhone is, and its users are, redefining the space.

'Boo' to the utter lack of innovation for all the gazillions of minds and dollars thrown at it by competitors -- what's wrong with those people? (Please spare me the Android/Pre nonsense; let's talk if/when all such futureware actually delivers).
post #11 of 24
...is already over 21M for the iPhone and Touch. There were 6M EDGE iPhones sold. There've been 11.3M 3G iPHones sold, probably another million by now. Altogether 17.3M, not counting the million sold in January. Plus, given that Net Applications just reported that web use of Touches approaches 1/4 of iPhone web use, that would indicate at least 1/4 as many Touches as iPhones, if not more, since Touches can't surf over the cell network. So, at least 4M Touches. Altogether, about 21M devices sold, to which developers can sell to. Blackberry only has an installed base of about 20M devices, and that's a wide variety of devices, with different ARM chips, different screen size, and different input methods. There may be 1M Android phones. The fact is, if you're a developer, looking at the market rationally, you'd develop for the iPhone and Touch. Like the point Daniel Earn Dilger is trying to make, Apple was very fortunate to get into the market when it did, because, shockingly, it has a serious advantage in installed base, in such a short time. It'll be hard to overcome that advantage.
post #12 of 24
I am not a gamer by any stretch of the word, but I have DLed many puzzle games. I've even bought a few of those $10 games to try out simply because it was convenient. Though I did only play Spore, Super Monkey Balls an the others for a couple minutes before never touching gem again.
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post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I wonder if this includes all the pirated software that seems to be readily available on other platforms and can be shared by Bluetooth file transfer?

No wonder Nokia had to step in to bail out Symbian.

I agree with this sentiment. I'm absolutely sure 9 out of 10 people who play games on Symbian or J2ME compatible phones don't get games from "official" channels. I think that makes this statistic completely bogus.

I play Pokemon Crystal on MeBoy on my year-old midline Sony Ericsson (K530i), and have played many many other games, some being commercial games which I've downloaded from other sources, almost on a daily basis during my commute. I also frequently use EBuddy and Google Maps.

One thing I've got to give Apple credit for, is their success at locking out piracy of applications for the iPod and iPhone through the iTunes syncing process. Of course, this is a serious advantage for some users of other phones.
post #14 of 24
@DGD/Prince Mclean
Good analysis as usual, but unfortunately (as always) you end up tarnishing your good work by injecting a few lines of obvious bias.

1) Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of the Blackberry Storm, but RIM is certainly not being forced to sell it "below cost". Like the majority of phones sold in America, Verizon is obviously subsidizing the cost of the device -- the $199 price is solely available in combination with a 2-year contract. On a month-to-month contract, the Blackberry Storm is being sold for $499.

2) Granted the iPhone is a step above most Blackberry devices, and certainly does a much better job of providing easy to use software and entertainment value, but to call them "glorified pagers" is just stupid. The Blackberry Enterprise push email system has been wildly successful, and some of their newer devices -- like the Blackberry Bold --- are actually quite nice. (not including the aptly-named "Storm" of course).
post #15 of 24
..........
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Palm faces an all or nothing gamble as the skelaton market of PDAs crumbles to dust and its aging Treo smartphones fade into the sunset.

RoughlyDrafted indeed
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_s View Post

The success & profitability of the handhelds for Apple has unfortunately led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro platform. Hence, the elimination of "computer" in the company's name.

Its not like the Mac Pro ever gets much of an update anyway. The next update will be mid 2009 and that will be to intels new 8 core xeon chips.

The Mac Pro's are aimed primarily at users of pro tools and due to the longer working life of a Mac Pro they tend to only get speed and storage bumps.

A few of our customers have Mac Pro's and have no intention of upgrading at any time in the near future. One of them works with print and the other multimedia production. Between those two alone they have 25 Mac Pro's.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Alternatively, some service providers such as Verizon Wireless have sought to set up rental software markets where users pay a few dollars per month to gain access to a specific game. The monthly rental fees are often nearly as much as full iPhone titles, yet Verizon's selection of Qualcomm BREW games, like similar offerings built using Sun's Java ME or Adobe's Flash Lite, are so extremely basic as to struggle to capture users' attention.

This is exactly why Verizon sucks. They want to rent games to you, and charge you for everything else possible. In addition to the previous tactics of disabling hardware features in the phone and trying to charge extra for those features. I don't know why people think Verizon is so great.

The reason the iPhone is popular with mobile games is because the games look and play great. Previous mobile options were limited by the hardware on the phones.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_s View Post

The success & profitability of the handhelds for Apple has unfortunately led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro platform. Hence, the elimination of "computer" in the company's name.

The high price of the Mac Pro and Apple's marketing campaign for "Pro" use led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro. Most consumers don't need a Mac Pro. iPhones didn't steal sales from the Mac Pro. Laptops and iMacs are far more popular, and very powerful too.

Things are different now. The Power Mac used to start at $1500 and they were far more powerful than the iMac and Laptops. People don't need or want to spend almost $3,000 for a home computer.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_s View Post

The success & profitability of the handhelds for Apple has unfortunately led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro platform. Hence, the elimination of "computer" in the company's name.

No matter the POWER, nobody wants a big box taking up their space. An iMac can probably (no research done) handle 90-95% of the populations everyday tasks.
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post #21 of 24
The iPhone SDK and developer ecosystem growing around the platform is a very big part of Apple's unfair advantage here, and the analysts don't even seem to grok the economic value of App Store, other than the strategic value of having it (App Store alone could drop $1B into Apple's coffers).

Especially for casual gamers (i.e., most people), Apple is incredibly well positioned relative to mobile phone users and dedicated console owners, something I blogged about in:

Apples Mobile Gaming Gold Rush
http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2...-mobile-g.html

Check it out if interested.

Mark
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

The next update will be mid 2009 and that will be to intels new 8 core xeon chips.

Will this myth ever die?? The Mac Pro is a dual-CPU workstation, not a 4+ socket high-end server. The only 8-core Intel chips are MP "Beckton" Xeons that only work in large 4+ socket server platforms. They will NOT BE USED IN THE MAC PRO. The Mac Pro will continue to use the dual processor Xeon platform, and the new Nehalem-based Xeons for this segment are codenamed "Gainestown" and use standard DDR3 memory instead of FB-DIMMs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

This is exactly why Verizon sucks. They want to rent games to you, and charge you for everything else possible. In addition to the previous tactics of disabling hardware features in the phone and trying to charge extra for those features. I don't know why people think Verizon is so great.

I don't believe anyone with knowledge of their business practices think they are great, but the fact of the matter is that they have the obviously superior network, with much larger 3G coverage area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

The high price of the Mac Pro and Apple's marketing campaign for "Pro" use led to the stagnation of the Mac Pro. Most consumers don't need a Mac Pro. iPhones didn't steal sales from the Mac Pro. Laptops and iMacs are far more popular, and very powerful too.

Things are different now. The Power Mac used to start at $1500 and they were far more powerful than the iMac and Laptops. People don't need or want to spend almost $3,000 for a home computer.

1) Particularly when it is early in the release cycle, The Mac Pro is not that expensive at all, and is certainly competitive with other dual-Xeon workstations in its class.

2) The Mac Pro is a WORKSTATION and is obviously not meant for an average home user as you appear to be suggesting. The sales are down because it is overpriced for the old components it offers.
post #23 of 24
The iPhone turned me into a gamer; an iPhone gamer specifically. Before I got an iPhone I never played games. I still don't play game on my Mac but I think the iPhone is the perfect gaming platform. That would qualify the Touch, as well.

BUT...

Although I have a 16 GB iPhone my 8 GB fatboy Nano is still my iPod of choice. The fatboy is much more mobile. I sling its lanyard around my neck and wear it like bling. Can't do that with my iPhone!
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

This is exactly why Verizon sucks. They want to rent games to you, and charge you for everything else possible. In addition to the previous tactics of disabling hardware features in the phone and trying to charge extra for those features. I don't know why people think Verizon is so great.

The reason the iPhone is popular with mobile games is because the games look and play great. Previous mobile options were limited by the hardware on the phones.

You always have a choice to purchase Verizon games outright for unlimited uses (at a higher price).

And the only real Verizon BREW game that should even be considered to rent is Guitar Hero --- and the Guitar Hero games are rentals on other platforms (on AT&T as well).
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