How The iPhone Could Eventually Help Bring Down The Price of Handheld Games

By Joel Taveras

August 4, 2009

Since June 29th 2007 the day the original iPhone launched Apple has been on top of the mobile world. Often imitated but never duplicated, it has cemented itself as the premiere touch-screen device for all touch-screen devices to be compared to. Apple, since the beginning has always said that although they produced hardware and products that are easy on the eyes, they are a software company first and foremost. In only one year’s time, we witnessed the transition from iPhone software version 1.0 to version 2.0.  In that same year we saw basic safari based web-apps turn into full-fledged downloadable native applications; available in the device’s very own app store. At the 2008 World Wide Developers Conference, I think many gamers were stunned and pleased to find that a majority of the apps displayed to show off the 2.0 software, were actually games rather than “apps”.Fast-forward 1 year to now, and Apple has already had over 1 billion apps downloaded and counting. People constantly stir up conversation about Apple jumping into the games and/or the console industry but the truth is that odds are the console that every one is waiting on is already in your pocket.

I know many gamers don’t want to consider it a legitimate handheld, but it has many titles from the same big name publishers who’s games you play on your DS or PSP. Those people against the casual gamer, in this particular situation, should embrace it. Apple much like the Nintendo Wii, has helped to put games into the hands of those who would have normally turned the other cheek. The best explanation that can be provided as to how they did it, is simply the pricing. I have yet to find a game in the App store over $10. I know that for some people paying $40 for a PSP game is just fine and dandy, but for others it’s an investment. At .99 cents, it’s really easy to buy games simply on impulse. At $30+ for something I can only play on a handheld it takes some serious thought. If it was announced that Konami would be making Metal Gear: Peace Walker for the iPhone, and it would only be $10 I think it would be safe to assume that it would sell better than water in the desert.

Competitive pricing that the iPhone and iPod Touch is providing is exactly what the industry needs to bring down pricing (it’s bad enough console games are $60) on the other handhelds.  If you don’t have the iPhone or the iPod touch you’re probably thinking to yourself that you could care less, but this is the wrong way to think especially if you’re a handheld gamer. Competition has been and always will be the best thing for any industry; especially for gamers as it what stimulates innovation, growth and most importantly competitive pricing.

Lately, there has been much talk and rumors concerning the iPhone going multi-carrier in 2010. If true it will provide over 70 million Verizon customers the opportunity to finally get their hands on the iPhone. When you think about it, that is potentially 70 million more gamers (I know that not every customer will get an iPhone, I’m just being optimistic) who in turn can help bring down the costs of overpriced handheld games for everyone.

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Joel Taveras

Joel Taveras is one of the founding members of DualShockers. He hails from New York City where he lives with his wife and two sons. During his tenure with the site, he's held every position from news writer to community manager to editor in chief. Currently he manages the behind the scenes and day-to-day operations at the publication.

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