ngmoco: NGP, 3DS "clearly hurt" by App Store

iOS game variety and prices mean NGP is "dead on arrival" - Young

Ngmoco boss Neil Young has expressed concern that the new Sony and Nintendo handhelds may be in for a tough fight against newer mobile platforms such as the iPhone.

"I think they're clearly hurt," he said of Sony to Industry Gamers. "I think PSP is done and the new [NGP] is dead on arrival.

"It's really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality. So I just don't think Sony's going to be able to compete with that."

While he was clear that "it's not like it's crap at playing games – it's pretty good at playing games and it can do a whole bunch of other things as well," he felt the sheer versatility of Apple's mobile devices would keep them more appealing that a more dedicated gaming handheld.

He was more optimistic about Nintendo's 3DS, launched this weekend in Japan, claiming it was "likely to be competitive" but "the 3D piece of the puzzle is kind of gimmicky."

Nonetheless, "Nintendo has great franchises and there are tens of millions of people who want to participate in those franchises, so that always helps... But the real question is the degree to which there's a third-party community."

Ngmoco was recently bought by Japanese mobile giant DeNA, and plans to bring its Mobage social network for smartphones to the West.

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Latest comments (6)

Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London9 years ago
I don't agree about it being dead on arrival at all. However, I feel many will hold back from hand-helds simply because they have powerful portable devices in their pocket already capable of great, cheap time-killing games - games which are growing in sophistication. We didn't see this situation before, the new hand-helds are releasing to a different market now.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 2nd March 2011 4:44pm

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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
I think Sony really have to think carefully about pricing. I know they don't want to make a hardware loss like they did with PS3s, but they really need to sell them at a very low hardware profit. And if they try dollar to pound pricing in the UK, they may suffer the fate of the original Xbox launch. If they launch at 350, they may well be dead in the water.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Ever notice how mobile developers are the ones touting the impending death of dedicated portable consoles? Don't overreach your market impact, fellas.

The combination of exclusive franchises and complex/accurate input methods will ensure these devices have quite a nice life. 3rd parties are already well underway with products. The 3DS itself having almost 150 games announced even before it launched is a strong testament to their support.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports9 years ago
Well I like to press buttons, dammit! And I want to play something more involving than catapulting birds at pigs. I think the 3DS and NGP will do fine...
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Private Industry 9 years ago
Probably those millions of games who got a DS, PSP, 360 or PS3 (I leave the Wii out due to the big casual market who might be happy with with the apps or facebook games offer) don`t agree about iPhone being a big challenge for dedicated gaming platforms that do deliver at the end a way better and longer gaming experience. We are talking here about the core and more mainstream market of gamers and granted that`s only a small fraction of all people on the planet, it`s still a large enough amount of people. There are almost 40 million PS3 sols world wide and over 60 million PSP`s, while there are surely some people who have both alone the Sony audience isn`t small and those people are not looking to get a small app to play they want to play bigger more engaging games. Also Sony doesn`t really have less great franchise compared to Nintendo and a bigger amount of 1st and 2nd party developers.

Nobody of them have to sell more than Apple, anyway the total sales for iPhone are greatly inflated by people trading in every year the old one to get a new one, if they sell above 50 million units they are probably perfectly fine and get a good profit out of it if there is enough good software and I don`t think they will sell less than that.

"It's really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality. So I just don't think Sony's going to be able to compete with that."

Quality > Quantity. Not all of the apps on the AppStore are games and by far not all of them are actually useful in any kind of way or display quality. I do love Angry Birds, it`s a great time filler to play for 5 minutes while on the way to work. But first the amount of great stuff isn`t that huge and second it`s great to play for a short period of time, but if I have a few hours like sitting in a plane and I want to play something I take handheld games over the Apps where I want to play a Metal Gear, Professor Layton or soon Uncharted.

Sure there are also plenty of free applications. Again quality, not all of them are games and hundreds of thousand, yeah no. At least surely not hundreds of thousand unique good applications that are different from each other instead of just rip offs of other apps. Also the PS3 does have Minis for a low price and that`s more or less iPhone games and I would really expect them to evolve the Minis section for NGP now that the system features the same input methods as the iPhone and the hardware used are parts that are not newly designed just for gaming and it appears that the architecture will be a lot better for the developers so it should be easy for the small teams to port the apps over to it. And while the amount of releases is smaller on a dedicated game system they have the infrastructure and care in regards to make sure whatever comes out has a certain amount of quality to prevent things like fart sound app.
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 9 years ago
I disagree - even if it's only because i think there's the ability of the market to support both types of experience. Although i'd like more flexibility on 3DS pricing. I didn't think many games were worth 30 on the DS(i) so i'm not convinced on the increase in cost on the 3DS when 360, PS3 and PC games come out at similar or cheaper prices...
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