Believe it or not, there were crowds gathered on Friday doing something else besides waiting for an iPad 2. About 60,000 people swarmed Boston for Penny Arcade East, a major convention for video game fans on the East Coast.
Much of the buzz in gaming these days revolves around two small but fast-growing areas: social games and mobile ones played on smartphones. But two titans of the video game industry have decidedly different takes on those markets.
Sprinkled among the snaking lines of parents at a Toys R Us in New Jersey on Black Friday were diehard gamers. Many had no children to spoil. Nor were they particularly happy to be in the Toys R Us; but with gaming hardware fast selling out across the region, they followed the scent of the deal.
As if the world’s most important video game trade show weren’t enough to snarl the already migraine-inducing traffic conditions that Los Angeles is famous for, the NBA Finals intruded on Tuesday to make things just a little bit more aggravating.
Black Friday marks the beginning of the most critical time of the year for video game makers, as customers jam stores on the day after Thanksgiving to pick up games and consoles as gifts.
Video game executives are some of the most optimistic you’ll ever meet. But you have to think they dream of the good old days (of only one year ago) when the industry was called “recession resistant”, thanks to the idea that “cocooning” consumers would, ad infinitum, plop down $60 for games.
So what happens when the Apple suggests your handheld game device is sub-par? Out of touch? Passe? ‘Dems fighting words, right?******That’s what I asked Sony’s PlayStation boss Jack Tretton during a recent interview. His response? Keep talking, Apple — you’re only creating more future PlayStation users.******A little background: Earlier this month, Apple’s Phil Schiller said this about Sony’s PlayStations Portable (PSP) and the Nintendo DS, which have together sold more than 150 million units around the globe:***
When these things came out they seemed so cool. But once you play a game on the iPod touch, they don’t really stack up anymore. They don’t have this amazing multi-touch user interface. The game are kind of expensive. they don’t even have anything like the Apps Store to find great games and titles. And they certainly don’t deliver a media experience like the iPod that is built into the iPod touch.******But worst is the buying experience. Having to go to the store and trying to find a hot new title is not a lot of fun.