Finally a gaming company gets it right. Instead of complaining about the existence of ROMs and emulators being installed on jailbroken iPhones, Sega has decided to give the people just what they want. Sega is planning on releasing an application for the iPhone that will bring their classics into the new age. Previous to this announcement Sega had previously released a handful of games that people could buy independently of one another, but now with the ability to have in-application purchases they’ve taken the next step in game sales. Sega has decided to give away an emulator for free, but instead of selling games independently they will now charge for the games within the Sega application.
We might be seeing a new type of console war. Can you imagine having all the big game companies vying for control of the iPhone. With Nintendo having the DS, and Sony having a PSP, I would certainly doubt that we would see any of their classic titles ported to the iPhone, but for Sega it’s an excellent move. Hopefully the move is being watched closely by the executives at Sony and Nintendo, and hopefully we’ll start to see some of their titles moving to the iPhone as well.
The genius of the move is that Sega doesn’t have to spend time developing their own hand-held device. Instead, they can piggy back on the success of one of the worlds most popular mobile computing devices which would give the gaming company the ability to focus on game sales. It makes sense for a gaming company doesn’t it?
Could you imagine having access to all your favourite gaming titles on one device instead of having to pick up a DS, a PSP, and an iPhone. Surely giving up on those revenue streams might seem a bit difficult for the gaming companies, but it’s time they start looking at it as giving people what they want instead of forcing our hands into purchases.
The next decade is going to be rife with arguments about content availability on multiple platforms. Why should we have to purchase a certain piece of hardware to get our favourite game?
Would it be profitable for a Nintendo or Sony to provide their catalog on their proprietary gaming devices as well as putting the games on Apple’s AppStore? Without doing too much economic research, I’d have to argue that it would be–increasing market size translates to more sales which then translates to more profits. The only real question that would remain is whether or not such a move would cannibalize the sales of a DS or PSP. Logic dictates that some cannibalization would occur as consumers would flock to a device that gave them access to all the games they want without having to make hard choices about the hardware.
How it will all play out remains to be seen but it could get interesting over the next few years.