Apple Sets its Sights on Mobile Gaming

During Apple's Wednesday media event, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing, pointed out the App Store's success in mobile gaming, noting the more than 21,000 games available, compared to 607 for Sony's PSP and 3,680 for the Nintendo DS. Mr. Schiller also said that neither rival platform offers anything comparable to the App Store, although Sony does have its PlayStation Store, which is accessible from the PSP.

However, neither the PSP nor the DS offer the multi-touch interface found on the iPhone and iPod touch, and games for those platforms are in the US$30-40 range, Mr. Schiller noted. Many App Store games sell for $2 or less, and titles from such top publishers as Electronic Arts and Gameloft typically cost less than $10.

In fact, representatives from both companies were on hand during the event, as was someone from Ubisoft, to show off several high-profile upcoming titles, including Madden NFL 2010 (EA), the stealth action game Assassin's Creed 2 (Ubisoft), and the first-person shooter Nova (Gameloft). Madden NFL 2010 should be available sometime on Wednesday, while the other two games will be shipping later this fall.

When he opened his remarks on portable gaming, Mr. Schiller quoted from a Business Week article that said: "Apple could be on the cusp of claiming the crown as the world's leader in pocket gaming." While Mac gaming remains static -- neither making significant gains, despite Apple's increase in computer market share, nor losing much ground -- App Store gaming could finally make Apple a major player in the games business. A successful platform needs developers, particularly prominent ones, and the App Store has been able to attract many of them.