BusinessWeek: Watch Out Sony and Nintendo

BusinessWeek recently took a look at the world of iPhone gaming in their post “Apple: Soon to Be a Mobile Gaming Force" and decided that Sony and Nintendo might have something to worry about.

I didn’t expect much from games on the iPhone. I had visions of casual games, perhaps a fancy take on solitaire or a version of poker that takes advantage of the handset’s touchscreen. Surely not a true mobile gaming experience.

Boy, was I wrong. For the last few days I’ve been sampling some of the games available from the iTunes Store on the iPod Touch, and I’ve been stunned at how elaborate and involved they are.

In the four months since iPhone 2.0 and the iTunes App Store arrived, the App Store has grown to 1,500 games.  Compare that number to the total 300 titles available for the Sony PSP and 600 titles for the Nintendo DS and the case becomes stronger.  Granted, most available games aren’t AAA blockbusters, but the titles that are available cost far less than the typical PSP or DS offerings.  And every iPhone game is set to easily receive free updates from the developer through iTunes.  And, again, we’re only four months into it.

Apple has been on a roll of late and is on track to sell 40 million devices a year that are capable of playing games.  Will it handily take control of mobile gaming?  BusinessWeek’s Hesseldahl is optimistic.

It’s enough to make me wonder whether Apple is on its way to conquering yet another sector of the consumer-technology business from out of nowhere. We’ll certainly know more after the holiday season, but if I worked for the Sony or Nintendo handheld gaming divisions, I’d be watching the holiday sales figures closely.