Monday, April 13, 2009

IPhone Changes Dynamics of Game Software Industry

Only a few years ago, bigger guns, badder enemies and louder explosives mattered most in video games.

Now, small is beautiful, and Apple Inc.'s iPhone is largely responsible.

The surprising emergence of the iPhone and its phone-less sibling, the iPod Touch, as hand-held game consoles has started to change the dynamics of the $40-billion game software industry. In addition to making titles for the iPhones, publishers are studying the thousands of games already available, figuring out what works and applying those lessons to more traditional games.

After years of building large, graphics-intensive blockbusters that come out every few years, developers are starting to make shorter, less expensive games that are released in more frequent installments. They're also making iPhone versions of major franchises that tie into the version for the console or computer.

According to a game developer of iPhone game company "The iPhone has changed everything,".

It's not just the device that's having an effect. It's also Apple's App Store, an online marketplace where users can browse through 25,000 software applications from thousands of publishers.

Many are games that take advantage of the multitouch screens, accelerometers and Web connections featured in the iPhone and iPod Touch. On a typical day, six to eight of the 10 bestselling apps are games.

One-third of all iPhone owners who use apps had downloaded Tap Tap Revenge by February, research firm ComScore said last week. That made the music game, which is free in some versions and $4.99 in others, the most-owned app. Twelve of the top 25 -- and five of the top 10 -- listed by ComScore are games.

After shoppers submit their credit card information once at Apple's online iTunes store, they can start buying apps through a computer or directly on their devices with a single click.

Since July, consumers have downloaded 800 million apps. Some are free, but many others cost 99 cents to $10 (Apple takes a 30% cut).

Video games that cost less than $10 are a big change. A typical title for a console or PC typically sells for $30 to $60. For hand-held games on Nintendo Co.'s DS, games cost $20 to $35.