Should Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony open their platforms?


Apple has clearly shown that an effectively open market ⭐️ can be hugely successful. Games on iOS are reaching more people than they did on any other platform. On top of that they make lots of money for both Apple and game developers. You might be thinking that RockStar gets $60 for every copy of GTA4 but more likely they get 10−15% of wholesale. For a $60 game wholesale is around $28. So they make at best $2.80 to $4.20 a unit. If they sold GTA4 on iPhone for $5 Apple would take 30% leaving them $3.50 right in the middle of that range. EA has been successful with the Sims 3 on iOS priced at $10 showing that games will sell at $10 on iOS.

So, ... why don't Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony go down the same path? Open up XBox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, DSi etc. Let anyone publish a game. Lower the entry cost. Let them develop on consumer hardware, no dev kit needed. All of those systems already have app stores. What is there to lose?

I can hear one objection and that is how will the AAA companies compete if the market isn't closed. The market is closed for AAA product already because no one but AAA companies can afford to spend $10−25 million to make a game.

But won't a lower price point kill them? No, as I pointed out they get the same deal they are getting now. Possibly better. ⭐️ Plus they'll probably get more sales. $5−$10 a game is a far easier purchase than $60 a game. There will be far more impulse buys and far more casual buys at lower price points.

But if anyone can make games how will they find our games? The same way they do in Books, Movies and Music. Anyway can make a book, anyone can make a movie, anyone can make music and yet somehow we have massively successful authors (J.K. Rowling, Stephen King), massively successful movie companies (Pixar, Disney), massively successful music entertainers (Lady Gaga, Black Eye Peas). They're all doing just fine in a world where they compete with everyone. Games will be no different.

So, Open your platforms Nintendo! Open your platforms Sony! Open your platforms Microsoft. If you don't it's likely in a few years Apple will own your markets when they come out with Apple TV Games and all the developers quickly move over there.

(*) Yes I know the App Store is not open. But it's orders of magnitude more open than PSN, XBL or the DSi or WiiWare systems.

(*) One thing this leaves out is that marketing is often as expensive as development. Still, plenty of games are selling millions of copies on iOS and some how managing to get the word out.

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