当Wedbush Securities分析师Michael Pachter表示iPhone和iPod Touch等设备的发展对任天堂的业务构成威胁，岩田聪高调回应道任天堂和苹果设备分属不同的消费群体。如果任天堂的平台和iPhone的消费者各不相同，那么为何岩田聪要呼吁开发者保持软件的价值取向呢？很显然，苹果手机平台归根结底还是威胁到了传统游戏。
Analysis: Mobile’s Growing Impact On Handheld Gaming Market Price Tags
During his GDC keynote two weeks ago, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke in strong terms about the current trends in mobile and social games and how they threaten the value proposition traditionally offered by platforms like the the Nintendo Wii and DS. Specifically, these platforms host software that ranges in price from $20 – $50, far above the free or modest prices charged for applications on smartphones and on social media sites like Facebook.
While we typically don’t address these non-traditional markets in our NPD reviews, the time is fast approaching when those markets will be impossible to exclude from the conversation. Iwata’s warning to developers may suit Nintendo and its chosen strategy, but the industry appears to have other plans.
Indeed, when analysts like Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities suggested that devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch were a threat to Nintendo’s business, Iwata famously replied that Nintendo’s devices and Apple’s devices “appeal to different consumers.” If Nintendo’s platforms and the iPhone appeal to different consumers, then why the impassioned appeal to keep the value of software high? Clearly, Apple’s mobile platforms and smartphones generally have turned out to be a threat after all.
And Nintendo may feel that threat most acutely now, as it launches its new handheld, the 3DS. While we believe the 3D effects and exclusive software will certainly help push the 3DS initially, we remain dubious about the system for both the $250 system price and standard $40 software price.
Yet the 3DS will have a means for competing with mobile devices. Nintendo is readying a storefront that will allow 3DS users to buy software over a network connection (like DSiWare on the Nintendo DSi now), and has announced that Netflix movie streaming will be available on the system. However, Nintendo is relatively new to the distribution of software through an online channel, especially compared to its most immediate rivals in the video game industry, Microsoft and (to a lesser extent) Sony. Each company has had its share of challenges expanding into these areas, and Nintendo will be no exception.
Clearly, pricing will be one of those challenges. When asked about Iwata’s keynote, Wedbush’s Pachter drew an analogy with “a record company executive speaking to a group of recording artists and saying that iTunes was a terrible model” and “that they all band together to make sure that consumers buy only album length CDs for $20 instead of individual songs for $1”. If we accept the analogy, then Nintendo’s 3DS and its software will likely still sell well – there are, after all, albums that sell well even today – but the prospects for a Nintendo DS-like hit seem significantly dimmer.
The problem with pricing, we would argue, is not just on handhelds. The industry as a whole has maintained an average price for software of $39 – $41 for three years and during that period software unit sales have declined by 13 percent, leading to a decline in overall revenue. Most of those software units are for consoles, not handhelds.
Are console software sales also being undercut by another source? Possibly. When asked, Pachter offered that he doesn’t “see as great a threat to console games, since there is nothing analogous [to the App Store] available on the television” but that “it’s coming some day.” We respectfully disagree. We believe that at this very moment Microsoft and Sony and, yes, even Nintendo are undercutting their own packaged software business with their online storefronts: the Xbox Live Marketplace, the PlayStation Store, and the Wii Shop Channel. While some sales on those services are likely to be additive – money spent on top of what one would already have spent – we think it is likely that those purchases are actually substituting for retail purchases on an increasing scale.
According to NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier, 22 percent of accessory segment revenue at retail in February 2011 was from points cards, like those used to purchase content on the aforementioned online storefronts. That works out to $56.5 million available for buying games, movies, and DLC. (See figure below.) In fact, while the accessory segment saw a nearly $47 million year-over-year increase in February, $19.3 million (or 41 percent) of that increase came just from the rising sales of points cards. (In the same comparison, software revenue fell by $32 million, albeit much it lost in the handheld and Wii segments.) The NPD Group retail figures moreover do not take into account purchases charged directly to credit cards or debit cards registered with these console services.
While there are some games on these services with full retail pricing (for example, Mass Effect 2 is sold on the PlayStation Store at $60), the majority of the content on these stores is priced at $20 or less. In effect, the consoles already have their own App Stores, and those are quite likely affecting consumer expectations with each passing month. (Source: Gamasutra)