Are Smartphones for Gaming?

When I read the emails between Sean and Paul the question that kept popping up in my head was, "Are Smartphones meant for gaming?", and I just felt like I wanted to put my thought into writing. I think that there are a couple of factors that area affecting the quality of games because, lets be honest, smartphone games can't hold a candle to even PSP games in regards to the thought that is put into them. I thought about what the difference between the PSP and the Smartphone ecosystem and I came up with one very big factor, which was the pricing.

Pricing

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via 4.smartpassiveincome.com


When I buy a PSP app I know that I'm making an investment and I know that the quality will be high enough for it to be worth my money because someone spent a lot of time and money on this app. I don't know the same about the app store and as a result I would never be willing to pay 30 dollars for an app on the Android Market or the App Store. I know that I would be willing to pay that, if not more, on a PS Vita game. I would definitely consider the Uncharted: Golden Abyss game worth the 50 dollars because I know and respect Naughty Dog, who are the makers of the Uncharted series. That is the difference between the two platforms. Developers are more willing to put in time into an ecosystem that promises a user base of people who are willing to pay top dollar for a game. The next factor is the exclusivity deals that console makers have developed over the years.

Exclusivity

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via upload.wikimedia.org

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have realized the incredible value of having a game exclusive to your console because once your fans like the game, then you have a guaranteed buyer of your console. Sony has Uncharted, Microsoft has Halo and Gears of War, Nintendo has Mario and Zelda, but all of these companies have titles that any gamer would recognize exclusively to their system. This will cease to exist in the smartphone market because it is pretty much expected for popular apps to be cross platform, but would a company like Naughty Dog, who is used to being able to specialize on one piece of hardware, really be willing to take on an operating systems as fragmented as Android? No, I don't think so. I think that what is holding back Games isn't just the hardware limitations at present, but rather that there are too many good games for consoles that have yet to receive legitimate competition in the smartphone market.

Conclusion

The smartphone market definitely has the potential to disrupt systems like the PSP, but until there is a way in which games on phones become much more profitable there will be very few legitimate smartphone games. it isn't a matter of what parts to phones have it's a matter of resources that area available as well as how much money can be made back from games on the different ecosystems. The reason that gaming devlopers haven't put a lot of their money behind smartphones is because it's easier for them to make money off of consoles from companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Gaming developers care about making a good product, but they also want to be able to make a profit off of that product.