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Is Hand Held Gaming Too Expensive?

February 11th, 2011 by

I recently watched an interview with Nintendo’s resident sales man “Reggie”. The topic of discussion was prices for the 3DS and if they could justify the high prices of their hand-held games. It got me thinking about portable gaming in general.

Reggie argued that 35-45 Dollars was the perfect price for 3DS games but I feel differently. He also implied that most iPhone games where overpriced and that “Cheap Throw-Away” games are a problem in the industry and for gamer’s relationship to games.
I personally love the cheap games on the App store and it’s true sometimes you can pick up a very bad game for 99p, but at that price who cares? Reggie then went on to talk about a concept game called steel diver. A pitiful looking sub-marine game using tilt controls and trust me it looked bad. He said it was worth the price tag of 40 Dollars and argued if you where to compare it to IOS games it would be superior.

Can Nintendo really justify the high-price point now that Apple has changed the hand-held market so drastically over the last few years? Especially as you can pick up direct ports of DS games for a fraction of the price on iPhone.

I was also interested to see if the MLG community actually played longer games on the move or just on your couch which kind of defeats the point a little.
Do any iPhone games really compare to DS or PSP games?

Just interested to hear some responses from the community.

7 Responses to “Is Hand Held Gaming Too Expensive?”
  1. avatar Wayne Shayler says:

    Here comes the Nintendo Defence Force. :)

    Yep, nobody minds paying 99 pence for a bad iPhone game.

    How about £9.99 for ten bad iPhone games?

    Thirty-five bad iPhone games? You get my point.

    There have been a few iPhone games released recently that may compare to a proper DS or PSP game, but they are three or four quid each. Dead Space, for example, is superb on iPhone but it’s three hour campaign is still well short of anything I expect to play on my proper portables.

    With the iPhones excellent digital distribution model, the price of games should be far less and sometimes I think the question should be asked whether it is the iPhone market that is priced too high.

    Like the man said, you get what you pay for. With my Sony and Nintendo handhelds, I know that my money is well spent with in-depth games that I will probably return to time and again. Sadly, I’ve yet to find the equivilent on my phone.

  2. avatar originaljohn says:

    I love my iPhone/touch for its multimedia capabilties – rss feeds, twitter and news app but for gaming I don’t think it measures up. I don’t think you can beat a dedicated device bit like the kindle compared to an ipad.
    I can see why gaming on the iPhone/touch devices is so big and there are games that take advantage of the iOS ablities, but I will always want buttons.
    I think Apple have proved that there is a very large market for cheaper downloadable games and I also think Sony and Nintendo have recognised this.

  3. avatar Martyn Hackett says:

    “Dead Space, for example, is superb on iPhone but it’s three hour campaign is still well short of anything I expect to play on my proper portables.”
    I think that’s a fairly decent proposition when the game costs £5.99
    And “proper” portables? My phone fits in my pocket a damn sight easier than my DS ever did :)

    I think the 3DS and NGP are in danger of trying too hard to replicate the home console experience in a portable package. The focus should be on creating games that are more suited to short-burst gameplay on the go, not cut-down versions of games you play for a couple of hours at a time on an HDTV.

  4. avatar darthsteve333 says:

    I have an iPhone, a DS and a PSP and my take on things is that the DS and PSP are undoubtedly the better formats for games you want to last for more than a few minutes at a time.

    There are some good iPhone games and emulations of old systems that are good for a quick fix of gaming on the go, but it’s very rare that I’ll spend more than a few minutes on it. The touchscreen is remarkable for apps, but not really the best for precision control. As such, only a few games have really nailed it.

    On the other hand, despite owning the 2 dedicated handhelds which are now commonplace, I’m of a certain age where I am reluctant to pull either of them out (oo-er) in public. This is for two reasons; namely that despite being 38 years old and very capable of looking after myself, I have an inbuilt fear of flashing tech in public. The other reason is that despite gaming being a more mainstream pursuit than ever, I feel some would still be surprised to see a grey balding bloke whip out a console normally associated with kids half (or even a third) my age.

    Consequently, I only feel comfortable using my DS or PSP in the car, whilst on holiday or at home. When I’m at home however, I have a PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 to choose from, I can sit on my sofa, with a joypad and a beer and not have to squint at a tiny screen.

    All of which is leading me to a point, (yes, there is one!); that is, that with the price of the 3DS due to be somewhere around the £200-£230 mark and the NGS (or whatever it ends up being called) likely to be the same or more, this is too expensive for me. Especially when you can buy a ‘proper console’ for the same price or less.

    And if I, a working adult and someone who has been a gamer for 35+ years finds that too expensive, then I think Nintendo and Sony need to be concerned.

  5. avatar Jurassic Prinny says:

    I had a DS Lite, I have a PSP, and have paid up to £30 for games and always felt like I got my money’s worth. I also have an iPod Touch, and used to pay 59p-£2.99 for games, but I stopped buying them because I always felt like I got my money’s worth.

  6. avatar cramtheman says:

    Ive recently bought an Android phone and got Alchemy,Angry Birds..etc and they are good games and can hold my attention for 5-10 mins at a time but compared to the experience that Pilotwings,Street Fighter 4,Metal Gear..etc on the 3DS will provide then sorry..no way will smart phone games ever compare to proper games on proper handhelds.For the chance to play Pilotwings in 3D in my hand im more than happy to pay what Nintendo ask..To be at the cutting edge of gaming we will always be asked to pay a premium…if people dont or cant pay that theres always the knowledge that give it time and you will be able to experience the same thing but for fraction of the release price.

  7. avatar GoddTodd says:

    Not including my iPhone, I haven’t owned a hand held gaming device since the Milton Bradly Microvision. But I’ve drunk the Nintendo cool aid this time.
    I just put in my pre-order for a 3DS today.
    I suppose one of the things I’m excited to do with it is using it as a 3d camera. I know there’s no other practical way to show off the pictures but it sounds like a fun thing to do.
    I totaly understand the price argument, but this is my reward/treat for finally getting a job that pays more than 50k a year. That and it will hopefully make the hour and a half long commute more pleasent.

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