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It's Apple vs Nintendo at GDC.

03-02-2011, 12:45 AM
👮 Spam Police 🚓 [Original Poster]
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,900
It's Apple vs Nintendo at GDC.

SAN FRANCISCO — It seems like Apple is really trying to steal the show at the Game Developers Conference.

As 18,000 game designers and executives walk toward Moscone Center this week, they will not likely miss the giant Apple logo on the side of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts right across the street. Apple is expected to take the stage there Wednesday morning and announce the next version of the iPad.

Only thing is, Apple’s presentation isn’t part of the Game Developers Conference, the annual gathering of gamemakers that runs through Friday. Not only that, it’s taking place at the same time as Nintendo President Satoru Iwata’s GDC keynote, in which he will lay out his vision for the company’s future.

Nintendo will launch its glasses-free 3-D game machine, Nintendo 3DS, in the United States on March 27, and buzz around GDC indicates that Iwata’s speech will feature some big news. But with Apple’s event overlapping Nintendo’s, many people may not be there to hear it.

“When you look at the game market, the center of gravity has clearly moved to mobile apps,” said Peter Vesterbacka of Angry Birds–maker Rovio at his GDC presentation Monday. “That’s where the action is, where the new trends are being defined.”

Crashing GDC is a bold move for Apple, a company that has been eating the lunch of the establishment game industry as of late. Research presented at the recent DICE Summit indicates that many hard-core gamers are spending more time playing cheaper, faster mobile and tablet games.

By positioning its iPad 2 announcement on top of GDC’s big show, Apple is slyly engaging in an altogether different sort of disruption. An announcement of a more powerful tablet (possibly including a faster processor and more RAM) could get game creators buzzing this week.

With Apple becoming more and more important in the gaming ecosystem, it’s tough to say which of the two presentations will be more portentous for developers. Chris Grant, editor of the popular AOL-owned blog Joystiq, said he was “conflicted” as to which event to attend.

Last year’s iPad announcement was light on gaming content, but Grant said he expected this year’s to feature more gaming news, now that so many thousands of iPad games are available. (Wired.com will cover the Apple event on Gadget Lab and the Nintendo keynote on Game|Life.)

After his presentation, Rovio’s Vesterbacka told Wired.com he most likely would not be able to attend either keynote, but that he would want to hear Apple’s if he had the choice — the Nintendo 3DS is a “known quantity,” he said, versus the still-mysterious tablet refresh.

Then again, Vesterbacka has a dog in this fight. With more than 50 million copies downloaded, Angry Birds has become the poster child for the cheap-mobile-game revolution. The Rovio executive credited Apple with blowing the business wide open.

“We got away from this carrier-dominated, Soviet-style model where other people decided what was a good game,” he said at GDC. Mobile carriers used to decide which few games to feature on its handsets, which Vesterbacka compared to the way the Soviet Union’s central planners created consumer products.

“You don’t need 27 brands of toothpaste, you just need one, and it doesn’t even have to be good,” he said to knowing chuckles from the crowd.

Nintendo, meanwhile, believes in fewer brands of toothpaste. Earlier this month, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said the iPhone’s massive library of inexpensive games constitutes “one of the biggest risks today in our gaming industry.” The glut of “disposable” games on iPhone that don’t provide very much fun or entertainment to users, Nintendo asserts, could end up turning players off of games.

With all the hype over mobile games, it’s Iwata’s job to convince game developers that there is still a compelling reason to create the sort of portable games that Nintendo sells — the kind that come in a box and cost $40 each.

If GDC finds itself abuzz over a new, beefier iPad, Iwata might have an even tougher task in 2011.
03-02-2011, 01:26 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 894
Interesting article you clipped, thanks!
What I'm wondering is whether the N3DS will eventually have some sort of mobile game app download functionality included, in the same way that WiiWare apps were available for the Wii. Isn't that the core essence of what the Apple App Store has brought to the table? If they do provide for it, then they're basically going back on what they said. It's going to take balls of steel to resolutely offer only boxed cartridge games. And pray that games are all 100% top quality, because there have been game reviews of poor quality cartridge games in the past for the SNES, N64, Gameboy etc, so that's another problem Nintendo need to address.