Amazon Fire And Mobile Gaming

Ever since the creation of the iOS App Store, mobile gaming has seen a new era where $1 is actually worth something and anyone with a smartphone is a casual gamer.  Recently Amazon announced their newest device, the Kindle Fire, and the buzz surrounding the new Android tablet might help grow the mobile gaming platform even more.  Competively priced at $199, their marketing plan is fairly similar to the console manufacturers, sell at a loss and make money on the software.

Unlike other tablet manufacturers, Amazon has a wealth of services and products to sell, and their hope is the Fire will create an additional storefront for their customers to buy from.  But what does this mean for mobile gaming? Even hardcore gamers have to admit that mobile gaming has become a hugely popular and profitable market.  With less than a year to go until the release of Sony’s Playstation Vita, it will be interesting to see how many people will still want to carry around a dedicated gaming device rather than a tablet that can play games, browse the web, e-mail, and do pretty much anything that there’s an app for.

Most people will argue that gamers will still pay the higher price for a big budget $30-$40 game when they provide better graphics and more hours of gameplay.  But lots of gamers also don’t have the budget for a new full retail game every month (or week).  The gaming giants (specifically Sony, and Nintendo) may not be able to justify the cost for another generation of mobile consoles when the casual gaming population is continuing to grow.  I for one already carry with me my smartphone, and a tablet.  I can’t imagine also packing a 3DS or Vita for my everyday travels.  My 3DS simply lives by my bedside waiting for me to play games at night.  On the other hand, my tablet now has a bigger library of games on it than I have for my PSP, DS and 3DS combined.  And just because the games on my tablet or smartphone only sell for $1-2 doesn’t mean I don’t get as much enjoyment out of them.  I often find it easier to pickup and harder to put down a game of Plants vs. Zombies than a gaming session with Zelda on my 3DS.

I still feel that the two genres (hardcore and casual) can coexist but as time goes one and more devices like the Amazon’s Kindle Fire come out, pricing structures and cost of development may need to be reanalyzed by the bigger gaming giants.

Written by Bryan

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