As entertainment and communications technology changes, so does the way we play games. Complex games are no longer restricted to traditional video game systems. In this first post of the ‘Going Mobile’ series I will be examining the shift in the way we play games. Does the emergence of the Commuter Gamer mark the end of the games console? Are pricey consoles and increasingly complex games too time consuming for a busy society in a stumbling economy?
At the end of August Sega released info on their forthcoming iOS title ‘Brick People’. The game is originally an arcade title Sega have ported to the iOS market – a real bugger if, like myself, you are an Android user. For your reference, below is a video of the arcade version of Brick People.
Touch sensitive games work very well on your average smartphone and this hyperactive Japanese arcade game, that has some similarities to the classic ‘Lemmings’, should sell well.
Software companies like Sega and Electronic Arts (EA) have been porting titles such as Fifa, the Sims, and Sonic games to iOS and Android devices for some time now. The Windows Phone, Microsoft’s answer to the Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) phones, launched a year ago. Users can play games on this phone through the Xbox Live application. Although the games currently available are similar to the free games you find on the App Store or Android Marketplace, Microsoft are planning to bring recognised Xbox games with multiplayer options in the near future.
Back when Microsoft announced the Windows Phone, with Xbox Live, I thought, where is Playstation? At the beginning of this year, SonyEricsson released the Experia Play smartphone. A touchscreen phone with a slide out joypad, Playstation announced that users would be able to download old Playstation games ported to the Android platform, using a something called the ‘Playstation Suite’ – a kind of App store for Playstation Games. Although the PS Suite should run on all devices using Android 2.3 and above (the Android OS released six months ago), Sony are adding a new sort of certification to devices, if your device is Playstation®Certified then it is guaranteed to run Playstation Suite.
At the end of August, Sony announced the release date for their new range of tablet devices: The Sony P and Sony S. These devices are described as creating a ‘new network entertainment experience’ and the list of software functions include Music Unlimited, Video Unlimited and Playstation®Certified.
The Playstation brand is adapting to this changing gaming landscape. What I find interesting is that Sony and the Playstation brand were already at this stage 6 years ago. Back then, they envisaged the Playstation 3 as not just the next generation Console but as an all-encompassing entertainment centre. At the time, gamers simply wanted to game and the price tag for this package was way too high. Now that the technological topography is in favour of this type of device, Sony are in prime position to take advantage.
The hope for more traditional console manufacturers and game publishers is their development of content for mobile markets, but somebody is missing. Where is Super Mario World Mobile? Where is Nintendo? Considering the 3DS is, although innovative and genius, ultimately not very good, you would think that Nintendo would jump on the mobile bandwagon, but they are not. In early August President Satoru Iwata gave an ‘over my dead body’ statement and said that his company will only make games for their own devices while he is in charge. Click here for the story
Could Satoru Iwata’s stance be Seppuku for his company? Probably not, Nintendo have been around for a while and even though the 3DS is failing, Nintendo will live on with its market of hardcore gamers. However, if gaming trends continue to turn towards devices like tablets and smartphones, will there be a market in the future for Nintendo?