Last week i finished Trace Memory (Another Code, in Europe) on the DS. I don’t intend to talk about the game (it’s not good!) but instead briefly comment on the games industry.
Trace Memory was released in 2005 at a price of EUR30-40. That was 2-3 years before the emergence of games on smartphones and the 99cent downloadable games. It was released on the DS which is the most successful portable games console of all time (149million units). It will probably surpass the PS2 by the end of its lifetime to become the best-selling console of all time as well.
But today, in 2012, I cannot see a future for these dedicated portable games consoles because i ask myself the following questions:
- How many people are willing to pay EUR150 to EUR300 for a dedicated gaming device when they already own a smartphone? Especially since they can upgrade the phone on a yearly basis with monthly instalments (contract plans).
- How many are still willing to pay EUR30 to EUR50 per game?
- Even if these games are better, are they 30-40 times better than what is available on smartphones? And even if they are, do people care? It’s still 99cents compared to EUR30-50!
The people who made the DS the best-selling handheld console are now on IOs and Android enabled devices. In smartphone and tablet form.
I don’t see how these people are coming back even with Nintendo offering 3D and Sony a very powerful portable console.