Apple Demonstrates Ignorance of Mobile Games Market
Apple's Phil Schiller wants you to think the iPhone is way, way, way cooler than the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. That's not all: The marketing VP leveled withering criticism at Nintendo and Sony during Apple's perennial three-ring tech event yesterday, claiming, according to Gamespot, that DS and PSP games are "not a lot of fun."
"When [the DS and PSP] came out, they seemed so cool. But once you play a game on the iPod touch, you think 'hey, these things aren't so cool any more'," said Schiller, per British game biz site MCV.
Not a lot of fun? Not so cool anymore? Has Schiller ever laid eyes (much less fingers) on an actual DS or PSP (as opposed to the conceptual renditions boiled down to game library sizes he's been touting in his slideshows)? Has he played Final Fantasy Tactics or Metroid Prime: Hunters? Patapon 2 or New Super Mario Bros.? Daxter or Advance Wars? Does he think some 150 million gamers are going to swoon when they see id's Doom Resurrection running on the iPhone before realizing they'll have to play it without tactile buttons? Does he think those of us presumably "un-cool" enough to enjoy games that last more than a few minutes a go are some sort of endangered species?
The iPhone has clear potential as a touch-based gaming platform (the fact that Apple's seriously late to the party notwithstanding). It'll probably compete directly with the DS and PSP in various genre-specific cases. But drawing dismissive comparisons to Nintendo and Sony's handhelds veers beyond conventional competitive swagger into the realm of market ignorance. The PSP and DS have massive audiences and cater to a particular type of experience that--again, in certain genre-specific cases--the iPhone will never be able to match.
And why should it? Why isn't Apple celebrating what the iPhone does well instead of unwisely dipping its rhetorical pen in a demographic inkwell it's badly misread?
$5 to $10 games? Great. Easy to learn and simple to play? Terrific. Able to pull them down in minutes, wherever you're at, using your provider's 3G network? Bully for Apple. But that doesn't make games like Guitar Hero: On Tour for the DS--a game that'd be impossible on the iPhone--any less "cool," or its price tag of $30 any more unreasonable.
First rule of marketing: Know your market. Second rule: Know how not to alienate consumers in the process of growing it.
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