BusinessWeek floated an iPhone gaming article a few days ago, speculating on Apple’s possible future as a hand-held gaming giant.
After running through the iPhone’s impressive sales and games penetration statistics, the author, Arik Hesseldahl, offers his sanguine opinion on Apple’s chances: “It’s enough to make me wonder whether Apple is on its way to conquering yet another sector of the consumer-technology business from out of nowhere. We’ll certainly know more after the holiday season, but if I worked for the Sony or Nintendo handheld gaming divisions, I’d be watching the holiday sales figures closely.”
I felt the same way several months ago, but I’ve started to reconsider my position. I started having doubts after Trip Hawkins told me that Apple doesn’t have a real plan for games, even if it kind of looks like they might.
I don’t want to suggest that Trip’s right about everything–he most certainly is not–but the fact is that Apple’s barely scratching the surface of what it could do in gaming, if it wanted to. For one thing, Apple hasn’t published a game itself since Texas Hold ‘Em, which surprises me greatly.
For another, the App Store’s stewardship has been pretty shoddy in several major ways, such as updating the “New Games” section. At present, the newest game on that page, Ballz!, was released October 23rd. The oldest? ICanSketchIt, released July 13th. This is the most important part of the entire App Store; Apple’s whole user-sorted merchandising model gets thrown for a loop if new games aren’t getting exposure.
What do you think? Is Apple just getting started on its gameplan, or is it content with laissez-faire?