What will 2008 bring to video gaming? #2, Other Platforms


Firstly the iPod and iPhone. Apple can see a lot of money here and are working to create a major gaming platform. Earlier iPods lacked the horsepower but the iPhone and iPod Touch correct that fault. Because of the iTunes distribution system this platform could be ramped up very quickly indeed to an already well established user base. This could well be the biggest growth area in gaming this year.

Nokia meanwhile continue to mess up their nGage platform. In 2003 Nokia had the potential to create the most popular gaming platform on earth and instead they made just about every mistake that was available to them. It was embarrassing. They are trying yet another tactic this year. It could work for them, but the evidence of history is not on their side. A pity because we are headed towards a universal pocket device and Nintendo Nokia could have owned the market. Yet they squandered first mover advantage.

The PC has matured into an interesting gaming platform. For boxed games at retail it has been in a downwards slide for some years. But for MMOs, casual gaming and for Steam it has grown massively. Also the effective banning of online gambling in the USA has forced companies to put their resources into online for money skill games. This will grow a lot during 2008. The companies with a gambling background will make a lot of money from this, showing up the lack of vision of traditional game publishers.

MMOs have grown under the effect of World of Warcraft which brought strong social networking to the genre. Other MMOs have learned this lesson and we will see the results of this during the year. Also non subscription business models will increase. Habbo Hotel is a powerful role model. As for genre we must be reaching the time when something other than swords and sorcery will work. It is overdue.

Steam is hugely important to the whole future of gaming. It must make Valve worth billions of dollars. The addition of social networking at the end of last year was a genius masterstroke. For serious hardcore gaming Steam is rapidly becoming the only show in town. It is a great example of what a team of very clever people can achieve.

Another group of gaming platforms that will show very strong growth this year are the social networking sites. MySpace and Facebook are now both open to third party developers. Their huge user base guarantees that games have a great potential. It is a pity that so many developers can see no further than data mining. Combining online for money skill games with social networking userbases could be a license to print a vast amount of money.

Mobile phone gaming will continue to be a niche due to the fragmentation of platforms and carriers. However the potential is massive. They are ubiquitous. The current complex business model could well die out as much stronger business models run by the platform manufacturers come along. Apple and Nokia are the obvious ones, but look out for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo entering this space.

There are loads of other gaming platforms from in flight seat back entertainment to SCUBA diving computers. They all sit in their respective niches and make business for those that service them.


  1. Shouldn’t the second paragraph read that “Nokia could have owned the market”?

  2. It was recommended to me by a friend to join Facebook. I seriously wish I hadn’t. I’m getting “poked”, “slapped”, “kung-fu kicked” all over the place by my so called friends. If this is social networking and the next big thing, you can keep it. It turns your friends into internet “pikeys”.

  3. Ugh, I agree I am sick of people challenging me to a game of Street Fighter on face book. They’d never challenge me at the console versions. ><

Comments are closed.