What it is: Sony and Nintendo not only sell desktop game consoles but also mobile game consoles. However with the growing popularity of games on the iPhone and iPad, both companies are migrating their titles from their own hardware to iOS.
The introduction of the iPhone not only killed smartphone leaders like Nokia and Blackberry, but also helped kill countless other products including Apple’s own iPod. When Apple opened their App Store so you could install new apps on an iPhone or iPad, they unleashed a flood of apps created by people all over the world. The most popular types of apps proved to be games.
By turning the iPhone and iPad into a mobile game platform, game apps essentially made dedicated mobile game platforms obsolete. That’s why Nintendo and Sony immediately saw sales of their mobile game devices plummet. After all, why bother carrying around a dedicated mobile game device when you can just play games on an iPhone or iPad instead?
Neither Sony nor Nintendo can hope to compete against the iPhone or iPad so now they’re cautiously trying a new approach. Rather than futilely convince people to buy a mobile game platform to carry with them in addition to an iPhone, both Sony and Nintendo are starting to release their most popular titles for iOS.
In the past, both Sony and Nintendo hoped their exclusive gaming titles would convince people to buy their mobile gaming devices. After all, if you wanted to play a certain game badly enough, you would have no choice but to buy a Sony or Nintendo device. Now both companies have discovered that even limiting popular games to their own devices isn’t enough to sell those devices. That’s why both companies are reluctantly porting titles to iOS.
If the dedicated mobile gaming device market is shrinking because smartphones and tablets are more versatile, what does that mean for the dedicated game console in general? While a dedicated game console like the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox can have hardware specifically designed to play games, that may only be enough to capture the hard core gaming market. For most people, having the convenience of a device that can also play games is more useful.
With the growing popularity of TV accessories like the Apple TV, it’s likely that dedicated devices of all kinds have little future. So expect Sony and Nintendo to port the rest of their most popular gaming titles to iOS. They’ll likely make more money selling games on iOS than they ever will trying to sell both games and hardware to a public increasingly reluctant to buy dedicated devices of any kind any more.