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Apple’s ready to enter the gaming world with its iPhone, but are consumers ready to welcome it?

Resident Evil on iPhone

After reading and researching Apple and gaming further, it seems pretty clear to me that Apple is trying to make a push to enter the portable gaming world with its iPhone/iPod/iPad devices.  There have been a handful of news articles concerning portable gaming and the iPhone since Capcom mentioned that Street Fighter will be coming to iPhone. Here’s my blog that more specifically details these stories as further background information. Two of the highlights include:

With these articles in mind, and since iPhone hasn’t overtly made a jump into the gaming world yet, I would like to use Web 2.0 to research and determine how consumers feel about the iPhone as a feasible gaming platform. I am looking to embed myself in the “gaming world” through traditional sources, like news media, as well as becoming an active member on gaming websites and forums, where I can talk to gamers and determine the overall point of view of the iPhone as a legitimate portable gaming platform. I also plan to download and play a few iPhone games, so that I may competently discuss them on the forums. Twitter will also be beneficial to my purpose of gaining information (I tweet for a horror film website; in my experience with horror, the genre of horror and that of gaming tend to overlap, with there being a shared interest in these two topics amongst those who follow either or both).

Those involved in the gaming culture are very “cliquey” and loyal to certain games and platforms; gamers tend to form emotional attachments to their brand/company of choice, ie, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo. For instance, even though I am not a gamer, I have grown up with my brother first playing Sega and then migrating to Playstation, and from there Playstation 2 and 3. Because of his loyalty to Playstation, I have also formed a certain affinity with the brand. Because of my own experience, I would anticipate that self-identified gamers would have an even stronger attachment to their system of choice. I’ve also observed that gaming websites arrange their forums/message boards into console-specific areas. So, I would expect that within these sites, you would find people discussing and debating different topics with a loyalty to said console . I would also imagine that this hypothesized loyalty to their brand of choice will make it difficult to persuade gamers to migrate to Apple’s iPhone as a new gaming platform.

Before, people had to purchase various personal portable items separately: $200 for a phone, $200 for an mp3 player, $200 for a portable DVD player, $200 for a portable gaming system, etc… Now, Apple is creating the opportunity for all these devices to be consolidated into one platform: the iPhone. In some of their TV advertisements, Apple even specifically states the idea of having all information in one place, at your fingertips. Most recently, this opportunity to consolidate has expanded into gaming, with  interest amongst 3rd party game developers. But, will gaming consumers show this same support? I’ll keep you updated as I traverse the gaming sphere!

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4 Comments

  1. Ryan 14:45, Mar 1st, 10

    Personally, AND i stress personally, Apple is trying VERY hard to consolidate these awesome games into a very limited interface. While I am not a gamer, I see how important the hand-held controller is for game consoles or even keyboards for PC gamers. Even though I think they are very ‘gutsy’ into attempting to break into this market of games, I am concerned about how this could change the skill level of how people play it. Personally again, my roommate and a couple of our friends are HEAVY into the Street Fighter game. They have intense matches while I watch them trash talk the other into oblivion. Now I can’t imagine how this (just reached an epiphany) iPhone gaming can link to the multiplayer excitement that one gets. It raises the question of access – well, what if my friend wants to play me, but doesn’t have an iPhone? Or even the game itself? I’d be very curious to how gamers feel about this? Oh, if you would like to personally watch a Street Fighter battle with my friends, let me know and I can arrange something :)

    Otherwise, I must take my hat off to Apple for trying something like this, but I think it will be very hard to pull off from my own understanding and knowledge of game culture and gamers. ‘Gamers are some very passionate people and are no joke when it comes to their games’.

    Check this out and the some of the comments:
    http://wireless.ign.com/articles/107/1071218p1.html

  2. Harris 11:54, Mar 2nd, 10

    Omg thank you for that video… I think it just converted me to one of those who will welcome it!!

  3. Leslie 12:02, Mar 2nd, 10

    @Ryan: hahaha yea, I can imagine the trash talking that goes on while playing Street Fighter! I’d definitely get a good laugh out of watching them, I’m sure! Are they hardcore about the game to the point that they go on forums and talk about it? Do they know that it’s coming to the iPhone…what do they think?? You think they’ll purchase it (pending they have an iPhone)?

    As with the iPhone and multiplayer, I definitely think this could be a plus for Apple. I think right now, you can only connect to others over WiFi. But once you’re able to play multiplayer games over 3G, it could be a big selling point- to be able to connect anywhere and everywhere under a plan that you’re already paying for could definitely be something gamers see as a plus. There hasn’t been too much talk on forums, but a little here and there. I haven’t seen any articles concerning this yet, which surprises me. I feel like iPhone as a gaming unit is still very much under the radar, so people aren’t talking about it all that much just yet.

    I also agree with you about it being a difficult undertaking for Apple. I feel like if Apple were to put out a home console system, it would never sell in the gaming world. But, maybe the iPhone as a portable gaming system hits a broader market- both avid gamers and non gamers alike? I guess we’ll see!

    Yea, that article surprised me on many different accounts! I read it a few days ago, and was surprised of how accepting IGN was about the game. I was also intrigued by the fact that the game was created for both beginners AND advanced people…thought it was a pretty smart move on Capcom’s part. It should make the integration of gaming on the iPhone easier. They also did a similar thing with Resident Evil 4′s release on the iPhone.

    @Harris- you think you’ll be an iPhone gamer?? The videos of the IGN reviewers playing Street Fighter are surprisingly impressive!

  4. Harris 12:09, Mar 2nd, 10

    I might not be able to be an iPhone gamer because I don’t have an iPhone, but I sure am ‘surprisingly impressed’ by that video :)
    My concern was about how the controls will translate to a hand held device and it looks like they’ve worked that out real smooth. That, combined with the prospect of playing multiplayer over 3G that you mention, makes me excited.
    Can’t wait to hear and see more!