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Jobs: iPod Touch primarily a gaming device

App Store now home to over 20,000 games; iPhone and iPod Touch user base hits 50 million

The iPod Touch has become primarily a gaming device, Steve Jobs has said, despite Apple not knowing from the outset what its big selling point would be.

"Originally, we weren't exactly sure how to market the Touch," Jobs told the New York Times. "Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer? What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine.

"We started to market it that way, and it just took off. And now what we really see is it's the lowest-cost way to the App Store, and that's the big draw. So what we were focused on is just reducing the price to USD 199. We don’t need to add new stuff. We need to get the price down where everyone can afford it."

And during an Apple press conference held in San Francisco, VP Phil Schiller has revealed how huge the presence of games on the App Store now is.

21,178 games are now available, which compares to 607 PlayStation Portable games and 3680 Nintendo DS ones.

"They don't really stack up any more," said Schiller.

The VP noted too that rival hardware platforms don't have multitouch screens or anything like the App Store, while their games are at least twice as expensive as on the Apple format.

In terms of market share, there are now more than 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches in users' hands - a number that's practically neck-to-neck with Sony's PSP, which boasts numbers of 51 million. The DS has reached well over 100 million, but has been available for six years compared to Apple's two.

During the conference, Apple also announced the availability of third-generation iPod Touch hardware, which will bring the device's performance in line with the new iPhone 3GS.

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