Threats and Benefits

The industry that brought you Jelly Car, Words with Friends, and Angry Birds is striking agitation in the hearts of big shots like Nintendo's CEO, Satoru Iwata.

                               Kim White/Nintendo of America, via Associated Press
Satoru Iwata speaks at the Game Developers Conference in San Fransico.

The reason Nintendo is the only company who has made a fuss is because they are being threatened the most by the all-in-one smartphones that can be bought at a cheaper price with even cheaper games. The audience that is often attracted by Nintendo's handheld games can be easily lured away by the games these new smartphones have to offer. Here is a list of a few games that are very similar (or exactly the same game), but for a cheaper price.

Although these games are substancially less expensive, they don't provide the same quality as the DS games, which is the main point Iwata is trying to get across to consumers. The DS versions of the games often have better developed story lines and more game play. Despite these advantages, causual game players are less likely to purchase a DS due to the price difference.

Competitors Microsoft and Sony are taking the opposite approach when it comes to the smartphone craze. Microsoft has developed apps for Windows 7 phones that allow users to access xboxlive. Not only can they check their XboxLive accounts and view their achievements but they can also play exclusive games on their phones with others that can boost their gamer score. Currently, Windows 7 phones are available for major service providers including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. By making this available on a wide varaiety of phones, consumers who own an xbox will probably be more active on Xbox live.

Sony took the most direct attack on the smartphone beast. Catering directly to their fans, Sony has created a phone that completes the smartphone experience while still utilizing their handheld systems. The Sony Xperia Play, released this past April, has all the basic phone capabilities, android apps, and complete PSP controls. Sliding the top layer of the phone up reveals the buttons and analogue touch joystick. (To find out more about this phone, click here.)

Overall, I believe Microsoft has the best approach. Its subtle, yet at the same time more widely available to consumers. Sony's Xperia play is just flat out cool. I personally wouldn't purchase it, but it is unique and I am sure it'll please some of its fans. Nintendo does have a problem on their hands but those who are truly dedicated to its products and games, will keep their handhelds on the map. 

Yours truly,
Havok Rose 


  1. Havok, so are the casual gamers the future of these developers? Make more money by charging less for a broader audience but not as in depth gameplay?

  2. I think it will create a greater gap between the casual and hardcore gamers. It'll make having to go out buy the console and the games less appealing to those who already have smartphones, thus leading to less gamers introduced into the console community.