Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apple TV, Windows Phone 7 Sell A Million

Apple's bid for family room domination hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but it's not doing too badly either. This week will see the new Apple TV hit one million units sold, which is not too shabby. At this point the new Apple TV doesn't offer a whole lot besides Netflix viewing and buying iTunes content... but according to Apple, users are renting or purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes per day, and watching over 150,000 movies per day.

Windows 7 has a similar adoption pace; they've shipped over 1.5 million units to retailers. Which may not seem like much compared to recent iPhone or Android sales numbers, which are doing those kind of numbers in a week. But it's not bad for a brand-new phone operating system. Microsoft says they've lined up 18,000 developers so far, which means they'll be seeing a lot of apps at some point.

What I'm waiting for is when both of these devices have a major impact on gaming. Apple TV needs to throw the switch and start selling Apps... maybe start offering a version with more storage for that purpose, or allow the user to plug in more storage. The AirPlay introduction is so new the impact hasn't been felt yet, but it will be... you can play your iPhone or iPad games on your TV through Apple TV, and that can be amazing. Scrabble on the TV? Infinity Blade on your TV? This won't be as significant as actually downloading those apps to your Apple TV, but it's still cool.

Windows Phone 7 has Xbox Live integration, and it remains to be seen how far Microsoft carries that. I'd like to see more than just access to your account; let's see Apps cross over into your Xbox 360 space. Reduce the demands for putting games in the Xbox Live Arcade down to the level of Windows Phone 7, and watch the market explode. Will Microsoft do it? They'll have to deal with angry retailers, perhaps, but the potential is there.

It would be nice to see more than just an iPhone/Android competition in the mobile space; I'm hoping Windows Phone 7 and PalmOS can make it a lot more interesting. (Blackberry? Nokia? Well, I suppose they are still around... but their trajectory is in the opposite direction, and unless they do something dramatic they will cease to be smartphone contenders in the next year or so.)

It seems clear to me that smartphone adoption will continue at a blistering pace in 2011 and beyond. This will expand the market for games of all types, as well as for e-books and other digital content. Tablets will also grow rapidly, and the combination means that more and more people will have a computerlike device with them at all times. We're just seeing the beginning of how these devices will transform gaming and book reading. The marketing of games and books is also changing rapidly, and there's no standard path to success. All I can say for sure is that developers and authors need to pay a lot more attention to marketing, and build it into their plans even before they create their content.

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