Nintendo owns the portable gaming market. They have since they created it with Game & Watch in the mid-’80s and then revolutionized it with Game Boy in 1989. Many challengers have risen and fallen over the 18 years since.
But as I predicted the day the iPhone was released, a reckoning is due between Apple and Nintendo in the coming years. As GigaOM reported today, Nintendo has filed a patent for a tilt-sensitive handheld console (a perfect companion to the motion-based Wii). Meanwhile, the New York Times claims Apple is stealthily adding game functions to the iPhone. There’s nothing stealthy about it. You create a portable device capable of gorgeous graphics, pristine audio and driven by a multitouch interface, you’re already there in the first place.
Let’s go back to the prediction from Jan. 9, shall we?
And multi-touch in iPhone is significantly more flexible — it’s made to interpret complex gestures with more than one point of input. There are a number of DS games that could easily be adapted, and it’s just made to host a new rhythm or music game that would require drumming two spots at once. It’s not a threat to the DS, because its price-point is so much higher. It is a threat to crappy games for cell phones, which often cost $6 and suck.
More interestingly, this could begin to threaten Nintendo down the road. The iPhone and its interface are extremely high-end today. By the end of the year, Apple could replace its traditional high-end iPod with one driven by the new iPhone interface and screen and offer it for the same price those iPods sell for today — and even boost the hard drive size, too. Suddenly, you have the world’s premiere media player and rising games star in a $250 package. That beats the PSP any day and hounds the DS tomorrow.
Sounds good. Anything else?
That’s my prediction of the day: As the iPhone seizes the high-end of Apple’s consumer electronics products, the iPod becomes the ultimate PSP-killer, with an interface the DS can’t quite match without the need for a stylus. Tell me you wouldn’t buy that. I dare you.
I’m sorry. Sometimes the smug just gets everywhere.