From The Motley Fool comes this article about Nintendo being wrong about Apple and the free games market on the iPhone/iPod/iPad, which very nicely fits into the somewhat recent blogging trend of discussing social games and their impact on the games most of us enjoy (that being games with actual gameplay).
As I commented before on all of this, whatever happens is likely to be a win/win for us. If Facebook/iWhatever games do reach a level where they are challenging Nintendo in terms of gameplay and quality, and start actually pulling people off Pokemon and into PokeFarm, well then that’s just another area to play decent games. If they stay on the current level of ‘gameplay’, the fad will pass faster than the pet rock, especially when what made them profitable to begin with (scams) are now being removed.
What I do believe is a significant difference between many iWhatever games and the FB games I’ve seen is that the iWhatever games are already on a much higher level. They might be simple in terms of graphics and sound due to hardware limitations, but with many the gameplay is as solid as it was back in the NES/SNES days. If anything, it’s actually a return of sorts to a focus on gameplay and innovative ideas, when for a while now flashy graphics and fancy movies surrounded stale rehashed gameplay.
Another major advantage to the App store platform is the standardization of it all. Everyone has the same hardware, everyone goes to the same spot to shop, and everyone uses the same review system that is just one click away for any potential buyer. A bad game is quickly identified by user reviews, and quality products will likewise move up the Top Seller chart. It’s certainly not a perfect system, and trash apps still show up on those lists, but more than ever the buyer has a wealth of information right at their fingertips, which will hopefully lead to smarter purchases and more rewards to those making actual worthwhile products.
So while I don’t believe Nintendo should worry about the new business model behind the App Store, what they SHOULD worry about is all these new game studios turning out actually interesting, innovative games on a platform that is not nearly as restricting as the current console space, and how favorably their products might stack up by comparison.