Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tablet Wars Continue

Real Racing 2 HD lets you race on your iPad 2 with the visuals piped to your TV.
One of the few bits of bad news in Apple's Q2 earnings report was that they sold fewer iPads than they expected, due to the transition to iPad 2. Sales of the original iPad slowed in anticipation of the new device, and then Apple had problems building enough iPad 2's to meet demand. Apple is struggling to overcome the backlog, and it may take months to resolve all the problems.

So when you see a Gartner Group report predicting market share for 2015, it is wise to be skeptical. Really? Apple will get 47.1% market share in 2015? I wonder if they ever include error bars on those predictions... maybe it might really be 47.0% market share. Really, these predictions should be seen as a general look at what the future might hold if trends continue in the current directions without major bumps. But major bumps do occur on a regular basis, and thus predictions will vary wildly from reality at times. What if Apple introduces a new iPad plagued with defects? Market share will drop. What if an Android tablet comes out (say, from Amazon) with a terrific price point and an awesome feature set? Maybe it will steal a big chunk of market share from Apple.

The wise marketer prepares a strategy with some contingency planning in mind to take care of just such events. It's why you should try to diversify your revenue sources among platforms and product lines, as a hedge against the unexpected. If all of your revenue comes from one product on one platform, and then that platform suddenly goes dark for a while, your cash flow dries up. Not a good situation, so plan on how you can avoid it.

Meanwhile, games are the number 1 application for tablets, and we're starting to see some very interesting innovation. Take Real Racing 2 HD from Firemint, for example. This is a slick racing game with some interesting options... like shooting the visuals to your 1080p HDTV (through an AV adapter, or through an Apple TV). YOu get to see your racing on the big screen, and still get useful data on your iPad 2... which you use as a steering wheel, taking advantage of the sensors in the iPad 2. Check out the video:

This sort of title will be hard for a 3DS to compete with. Maybe Sony's NGP will be able to handle this sort of thing, or perhaps Nintendo's new console with the spiffy controller that's rumored can take it on. Meanwhile, we're getting a glimpse of where gaming is headed. Convergence between handheld devices and the family room is happening, leading to some very interesting combinations.

Hey, Microsoft, what do you have? Where's those Windows Phone 7/ Kinect connections you demo'ed? I hope you're planning to bring those to market... and maybe you should think about a tablet operating system someday. Just a thought. I wonder if HP is planning on making gaming important to the future of WebOS as they try to make that a major player in smartphones and tablets. Certainly they haven't shown a presence at GDC... someone should clue them in that gaming is the leading category of applications on smartphones and tablets. It would seem hard to gain traction in either market unless you make some kind of showing in the major application category... better still, have some killer apps in that category. This is one of those cases where marketing is supposed to help inform the product development guys... someone should be writing memos. Or carving the memos into the cubicle walls around the engineers, or sending up signal flares, or something.

Ah, marketing... you have to use those marketing skills in your own organization if you really want to have an impact.

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