Epic Games' Mike Capps: "Dollar Apps Are Killing Us"
If there's anything that's killing us [in the traditional games business] it's dollar apps," he lamented. "How do you sell someone a $60 game that's really worth it ... They're used to 99 cents. As I said, it's an uncertain time in the industry. But it's an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins.
I think that there's a fundamental difference between gamers who want to spend $60 on the next Mass Effect or Gear of War, and casual users who are looking forward to the next Angry Birds update. I used to play a lot of console games, but now I'm one of those addicted to the .99 cent apps. On the other hand, a friend of mine who didn't abandon console gaming bought an iPad last year and now he plays both the latest Xbox hits and Angry Birds.
I think Capps he's right when he says apps have changed the market, but I disagree with him as far as "killing" games goes. It's all about value: those who care about high-profile console games will keep buying them. Let's face it: there's no Mass Effect or Halo on iOS devices. Those people who don't recognize the value of console -- or simply don't have the time and resources for another device in their lives -- will be just fine with Angry Birds and Cut the Rope.
I think the real problem for game developers like Capps is that the number of these users who prefer quick, mobile gaming has turned out to be larger than expected. For the same reason why I disagree with Nintendo about the culture of disposability, I believe the issue is not the association of portable games with low prices: it's about the time users are ready to invest on a platform.
I'm one of those who think console games won't go away anytime soon. But at the same time, I wonder: what's going to happen when the iPad will be capable of running Metal Gear Solid 4?