Five Potential Pitfalls That Could Kill The App Store
Angry Birds' days are numbered.
History teaches us that nothing lasts forever.
The games industry, circa 1983, is a perfect example. For years, the public had video game fever, obsessively shoving quarters into Pac-Man arcade machines and buying Atari 2600 consoles buy the boatload.
Then a glut of horrible software flooded stores, and consumers (by unanimous decision), decided to abandoned games altogether.
On the positive side, the business rebounded and became the billion dollar juggernaut you see today, but the crash serves as a grim reminder of what can happen if a company angers its target audience.
This brings us to the App Store. Apple's online store acts as a central hub to thousands of games for both iPhone and iPad, with no signs of slowing down.
That doesn't mean, of course, that it's bulletproof. On the contrary, those involved would be wise to heed our warning. Otherwise, these five pitfalls could spell doom for mobile gaming.
People will grow tired of Angry Birds
At this point, Rovio's immensely successful franchise seems unstoppable, with well over 200 million downloads worldwide, but let's face it. Casual gamers are more unpredictable than hardcore players who blindly support franchises. One day, your game's on top of the App Store, and the next, it drops like a dead canary.
To be fair, Angry Birds and its spin-offs have remained in the top ten for months, adding fuel to the theory that the property has real staying power.
Then again, we thought the same about Lara Croft in the 90s.
Bottom line, the App Store's success came about (in part) because of Rovo's smash hit. If that collapsed, what game takes its place? Keep thinking.
Too many in-App purchases
It's one thing to release a free game and then charge players to acquire different items. Zynga did this to great effect with Farmville.
Recently, though, we've seen quite a few Apps that cost money to buy and come with in-app purchases baked into the experience. Sorry, publishers, but after forking over $6.99 for your game, we have no interest paying more unless you really make it worth our while.
Thing is, they don't. The App Store is somewhat of a fragile ecosystem. Companies can't necessarily get away with the same old tricks pulled on the console side, which leads to our next pitfall.
Expensive Apps that fail to meet the hype
We'll gladly fork over more dough in exchange for a high quality experience, but it needs to be a triple A must have title that also serves as a showpiece for the hardware.
High expectations to be sure, which are a direct result of the $0.99 games populating the App Store. Both iPhone and iPad users know they'll receive a great video game for less than a dollar that also comes with free updates. A glut of $9.99 titles won't fly without some big money involved with development, and possibly a huge franchise associated with it to boot.
Is the ten-dollar game a pipedream? After witnessing publishers like Electronic Arts and Gameloft continuously slash prices mere weeks after launch, you tell us.
Console makers wising up
At the moment, big shots like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are still obsessed with the console way of doing things that involve big budgets, proven IPs and high costs to the consumer. Eventually, as the mobile business eats into theirs, those same publishers will wise up and ink deals with the small time developers, bringing more games like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and more to both consoles and portable systems.
If Nintendo, let's say, negotiated a deal to put Angry Birds 2 on 3DS, Apple would have something to worry about.
Falling behind in the technology race
Now that Apple's officially thrown its cap into the video game hardware business, it will be under constant pressure to innovate. Over time, those casual players will demand a more advanced phone or iPod Touch that competes in the same graphical categories as 3DS, PlayStation Vita and Android.
Make no mistake. Apple must deliver. Great graphics don't make a great video game (look at the Wii), but folks eventually ditch last generation hardware (look at the Wii).
In other words, Apple can get away with a modest upgrade with iPhone 5, but won't be able to do the same with iPhone 6 and beyond.