Apple and Nintendo?
In our January 13 cover story we talked
about the potential Apple has to make waves in this industry through an
acquisition, or even a partnership, with Nintendo. Nintendo could fully
concentrate on what it does best: software.
Meanwhile, Apple would concentrate on
hardware. The unlikely pairing would both benefit from such a deal. However,
with egos involved and the philosophies of the companies being so different, I
wouldn’t hold my breath for such a partnership. I certainly wouldn’t hold my
breath for an acquisition due to the power Nintendo still holds and the cost
this would involve for Apple.
Rather than a partnership, a much more
likely scenario would be heavy competition between the two companies in the coming
years. According to Did That Box, Nintendo is geared towards taking mobile
gaming head on with its upcoming Wii U controller. The controller resembles a
tablet, but comes with buttons and a joystick on its sides. However, it can’t
act independently of the console and be taken on trips, for example. This means
that it isn’t a tablet or a mobile gaming competitor at all. The report from
Dig That Box point out, however, that Nintendo may be trying to market it as a
mobile gaming replacement.
WiiU controller is designed to counter the iPad
According to Dig That Box, “The WiiU
controller is designed to counter the iPad. And if you have children, or know
someone who does, then you understand why Nintendo is making a competitor for
the iPad. Children are obsessed with smart phones and tablet computers.
Specifically the Apple brand hardware.”
Will Nintendo support cheap development
from independent game designers for its Wii U controller and system the way
Apple does? Evidence that it may support such development exists, as Nintendo’s
guru and game designer, Shigery Miyamoto, was recently heard praising Rovio and
Angry Birds. He said that it was his favorite non-Nintendo game and offers
innovation that Nintendo is known for among traditional gaming companies.
“What I like about Angry Birds is that it
has a traditional videogame [feel] to it, but also a very creative side,”
Miyamoto said. “And you can really feel that they’re having fun developing the
game. That’s what I like about it.”
Apple and Valve?
Apple and Valve working on a console?
Besides Nintendo, Valve is another major
software developer in the gaming world. However, Valve concentrated on PC
gaming and the development of its Steam platform that allows gamers to purchase
titles through digital distribution. Valve has been mentioned as a potential
Apple partner over the past few months due to a rumor that turned out not to be
true. A popular Apple blog claimed that Tim Cook made a trip to Valve’s
headquarters in Bellevue, Washington on April 13. This led to speculation that
Apple would be working with Valve on the rumored Steam Box project. This is a
rumored project that aims to bring PC gaming to the living room and compete
with traditional consoles as well as allow PC developers to have the ability to
scale software to a base model.
However, this rumor turned out not to be
true as Valve CEO and co-founder, Gabe Nevell, dismissed it. He said that he
was caught off guard asking co-workers if Cook actually showed up or if anyone
has seen him around the office. He also admitted that he would love to talk
with Cook about gaming but unfortunately didn’t have a chance to. Despite his
rebuttal of the meeting, it could still possible that it took place and that
the two companies want it to stay under wraps until an announcement can be made
Sometimes companies dismiss claims only to
reveal them as true much later. However, Nevell outright dismissed it and
didn’t even allude to the meeting taking place in one way or form.
Even if Apple never becomes a major player
in the console gaming space or gaming in front of a TV set, it will continue to
gain ground and position itself as a leader in mobile gaming. The company will
also continue to take more market share from portable gaming systems and gather
developer support. What is so attractive about the App Store in terms of gaming
is the innovative spirit it brings. Developers have low up-front costs for
entering this market, so creative games that would otherwise be dismissed by
big publishers are constantly released. Games like Incoboto and Waking Mars
really make the iDevice platform shine. The next big challenge Apple faces is
to find ways to get developers to create games with bigger budgets and not just
ports. For this to happen, the ecosystem will need to attract longer
development times and higher-priced software demand. It seems that the freemium
model is taking over, but there is room for titles that attract hardcore gamers
as well. Slitherine’s recent release of a full-blown PC strategy game, Battle
academy, is evidence of this and it currently costs $ 20 on the App store.