Following Apple’s recent announcement that it plans to compete with the PSP and DS by opening up the iPhone to quality games, I read an interesting post from Jonathan Weinberg on TechDigest stating his view that mobile phones will never be portable games consoles.
I’m not sure I agree though. Convergence is rife and if the big players want it to happen then they generally succeed.
While Jonathan’s right that in the past the likes of Nokia with the N-Gage have tried and failed to marry the mobile phone and games console – that was then, when technology was a constraint. Nowadays the processing power, audio quality and screen technology is there to deliver a compelling experience, if designed and marketed in the right way.
Perhaps the key will be to position these devices more as portable games consoles with a phone instead of a phone that plays games. However, the biggest barrier in doing that will be the credibility of the big mobile phone brands in the gaming sector. Consumers are comfortable with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo but there’s something not quite right if it’s Nokia et al.
Another argument is that if ‘proper’ gaming and mobile phones are to successfully merge into one device then some, or all, of the big gaming companies will have to get involved. Word is that Sony is already working on a PSP phone so it’ll be interesting to see how consumers respond when that’s launched.
Strangely, given that it has neither a long history in mobile or in gaming, Apple is probably best placed to be successful and it’ll be interesting to see just what quality games start to appear on the iPhone and how they go down with consumers.