Sequel glut driving players away from consoles to more “original” games on iOS?


That’s what Gamaustrua analyst Matt Matthews suspects:

The second point (of last year’s annual console sales) brings out is just how sequel-driven the top end of the market has become. Every game, with exception of Just Dance 2 and Batman: Arkham City is a sequel several times over. I’m just now beginning to try to follow the mobile/tablet gaming market, and while many of the games I see there are derivative, the ones that appear to sell exceptionally well are still original in many ways. If there really is generational fatigue, as Piper Jaffray’s Connor suggests, and consumers are “spending more time on Facebook and the iOS app ecosystem,” then perhaps this heavy dependence on sequels is contributing to that trend.

It’s a valid point. Obviously Facebook and iOS are not only cheaper than console and handheld experiences, but they’re easier to jump in and out of, which a lot of gamers prefer. At the same time, I suspect I’ve played a lot more non-sequels on iOS in the last year than I did on consoles/handhelds. As a friend of the new, that’s a big hook for iOS gaming, however non-epic it still is.

The good news for Nintendo is they have a history of original games — more than any other, perhaps. Problem is, they also have a bad case of sequelitis at times (as they do right now), so it’s up to them to find the proper mix of new vs. retro games.

What do you think?


  1. i think nintendo is one of the few companies who do not have stagnant sequilitis.
    you look at mario kart 7. it been almost 20 years and we are just now on 7.
    weve had 7 call of duty games in 7 years.

    Nintendo may use mario in a lot of games but they are typically game-changers and not derivitive.

  2. Wow, really? I wish this was true. That way COD wouldn’t sell 6 million copies in the first week.

    Sequels sell, and there is little to nothing original found on the iOS. Oh Blake, just start your iOS website already and sell this one off… Or didn’t you already?

  3. I think Matt Matthews has added one plus one and come up with three: people play iOS games because they’re convenient and the price of a candy bar. 99.99999999 percent of mobile games are derivative, if not complete rip-offs. Plus, highly original console games tend to not sell well at all.

    There are certainly good, innovative games on iOS, that are quicker to produce because they provide a simpler experience, but convenience and a super-cheap price are what sell mobile games to customers who never even made a decision to buy a game device in the first place; it’s all right there on a phone they already own.

  4. It’s an interesting point, but I don’t think sequelitis is a cause. I think their affordability, convenience and simplicity are the reason iOS games are drawing people away from consoles, to the extent that they are.

  5. I can’t think of too many original experiences that are on the iOS. Even the much lauded Angry Birds is just a retread of a flash game with new skins.

  6. I totally agree with all comments above 😀 (that’s why I love Infendo)

  7. I know there are people who love nothing but sequels, then there are people who want something new every time. I am in the middle. This statement has a good point, but I don’t think that is the sole reason why games on iOS/facebook are popular, for one thing they are games, but they are casual games that you can pickup for a few minutes and put it back down. Games on the consoles are more engrossing and take more time. Honestly they two different industries in themselves.

  8. The infendo Community is great. We must always try to stay together. Super Mario 3D Land is an original game that sold millions

  9. Meh, I’m pretty sure that eventually these iphone gamers are either gonna give up, or turn to console gaming. iOS games are kinda like testing the waters in my mind. That’s right Ninty, just wait for them to bite. 🙂

  10. Initially stopped reading right after the word “analyst” popped up. Gave it a chance and all I have to say is: all games are a variation of Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy and Amagon.

  11. Also, want to know why video game console and game sales are down? Because the DS and the Wii are not at the same yearly numbers as 2009 or 2010. Sure, “analysts” dissed the Wii for years, but as soon as there’s a decline it’s all “it’s the Wii’s fault!”.

  12. I don’t think that sequel glut is really the problem.

    Give me a few days, and I can name a million Angry Birds clones, a million “Runners” (à la Robot Unicorn Attack), and a million “Vegetable Pirates”. Granted, the article does mention that (though brushes over it more than it should), and the original works are generally good, but that goes for just about anything.

    I think that Nintendo’s eShop offerings have all been pretty good–even the 3rd party games are actually really good—even Samurai Sword Destiny, which everyone bashes on for being a bit repetitive.

    It is my opinion that the downloadable titles strike a great balance for the future of video games. They have the bulk and controls of a console, at only a bit more than the price of an iOS game. Hell, seven of my top ten games of 2011 retailed for less than $40. Four of them for less than $20.

    On that note (sorry for being a bit tangential), I really think that video game prices need to drop. I don’t care what their position is in regards to inflation–just because they were overpriced in 1986 doesn’t mean they should stay that way. Game companies want me to stop buying used? Stop charging me $60! If indie devs and small companies like XSEED can sell things for $20-$30, so can they.

  13. I’m not sure to what extent iOS is “driving” gamers away from dedicated gaming devices. I mean, are people really giving up on buying a 3DS o PSP ir whatever because they already have an iPhone/Android Phone?
    To me it’s just a plus that my phone has but it’s not making me give up on handhelds…

  14. @Alvaro – I totally agree! I have an iphone and have owned for 2 years. There is just no real depth to the mass majority of iOS/Droid games to make me think “OMG, I need to stop buying DS/PSP titles because I can get my game on with my phone!” at least 7 out of 8 iOS gamers were never hand held gamers to begin with. They are just phone owners that saw something to spend .99 on. Angry Birds, I’ve had the “free” version for over a year, but have never felt like I needed to spend .99 to get the extra levels. (it’s just more levels, not any real depth to it at all)

    and I agree with Monkat, the dedicated gaming industry need to consider a lower price point if they want to help these phone gamers out of the iOS gateway drug to the more hardcore stuff.

  15. I see a few different reasons for the rise of the iOS games:

    1) Portability – If your sitting on the subway, waiting room, etc. it’s easier to play a game to pass the time. What do people usually never forget to bring with them, yep it’s their phone.

    2) Price – This one is pretty straightforward games on the apple app store are mostly $.99. If you make an impulse buy and the game is bad, who cares it was only $1.

    3) Ease of purchasing – Buying from the Apple App Store is easy, really easy. There are no point conversions ($10 equals 7 coins, game x costs 12 coins, etc.) that you have to constantly refill. Credit card information is stored in the system so I don’t have to constantly enter it in. I just enter my password, buy the game and get the receipt e-mailed to me. I’ve actually made impulse purchases on the App Store because it was so easy and on the flip side I’ve skipped buying games on Nintendo stores because I have to go through the whole process of entering in my address, credit card information …

    4) Ease of searching – Another straightforward one. Apple’s app store is easy to navigate, see reviews, rankings, etc. The 3DS store is a bit better than Wii but it’s still really painful to find things that I want. A list of the bestselling 200 games filterable by name, type, etc. would be excellent as would a section that had “people who purchase this game also bought this one.”

    5) Ease of restoration – iOS games aren’t tied to a iOS device but to a userid. If you get a new iPhone you just type in your id and it can download the game you bought free of charge, no problem. With Nintendo games are tied to a hardware device which makes transferring games from broken Wii consoles to newly bought ones extremely difficult, sending it into Nintendo, etc.

    6) Ease of downloading – I’m not sure why you have to download games one at a time on the Nintendo app store (you can do this on the 3DS). You should be able to queue a list of games for download and then click download them all instead of purchasing one, then downloading it, then purchasing another/downloading it, etc. On the Apple app store you are able to purchase multiple games and have them all download in the background.

    Imo these are the some of the reasons for the rise of iOS games. I do think that in terms of originality iOS games are very much lacking compared to Nintendo games, a good portion of them are ports of popular flash based games. Hopefully with the WiiU Nintendo is able to fix a lot of these problems so that buying games at the Nintendo app store is much better process for gamers.

  16. It’s a parallel of Hollywood. How many movies are just retreads of a genre or even a straight sequel or remake. Every once in a while Hollywood will make a small budget gem that everyone will watch (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Paranormal Activity, Hangover) just like everyone once in a while PopCap will make Plants Vs. Zombies or whoever makes AngryBirds.

    However, when you get a budget for a film and it’s 100 million dollars you need to justify that budget. You need to make it bigger, louder, more over the top. Now think about AngryBirds, could you make that game worth a 100 million dollar budget? No, you’d turn it into Star Wars the Old Republic.

    Then after you’re done justifying the budget you then start worrying about how you’re going to make your money back. Is Spore too epic during development? Narrow it’s ambition down and make it crappy, it will still sell.

    I worry about 100 million dollar video games. That’s not a gaming future I want to be in. In that future you can’t take chances or one bad game will shutter your studio. I guess I’m as much to blame for that future as anyone, I wanted bigger, better, and louder too.

  17. I can agree to a point. iOS is a great place for new developers to showcase what they can do, and is a breeding ground for new, original ideas. However, I can’t get past the fact that most, and when I say most I mean nearly all of, the games on the platform are throw away after 15 minute experiences. I have yet to find a single “traditional” game that has grabbed my attention like a Mario Kart or Super Mario 3D Land.

    I think cell phones games are great, and have a place in the industry, but when I want to play a “game” game, I will bust out my DSi or 3DS for a much meatier experience where I won’t have to fight with and on screen d-pad on a game that was clearly not designed for the platform.

  18. iOS and Android games are taking away the super casual audience that may have bought a DS or Wii to play some of the more casual games on those systems years ago, but are finding similar and cheaper stuff on their smartphones. Good riddance I say. Let the Wii U and 3DS avoid the shovelware that their predecessors and leaving the top titles worthy of a premium price for the rest of us.

    Nintendo and others may make other more casual focused games that can only be found on the Wii U and 3DS and that’s fine too. I’m sure they sold a lot of hardware to people who only bought the Wii for Wii Sports and Wii Fit. And I hope they find something similar for the 3DS and Wii U to get these into peoples homes. But games like the Petz series and the cooking mamas and family/carnival mini game rubbish can all go to the 99c app store where they belong.

    Also back on topic I don’t for one minute think people are turning to smartphone gaming because of sequelitis. Sequels sell. There just may be not enough room in the market to sell people home consoles to from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft as well as handhelds from two of those AND smartphones. I see the rise of the smartphone as as a major interruption but also as an opportunity for Sony, Nintendo and MS grow their customers from gamers wishing to graduate from simple smartphone games into full fledged games. It may take a while but I think it will eventually happen.

  19. sequel glut is part of the reason I’m not into nintendo as much anymore. i find myself wanting to branch out into worlds beyond hyrule and the mushroom kingdom. trilogies like mass effect, with involving story arcs, are very appealing to me.

  20. @Deepthought:

    ….and yet you keep returning to this Nintendo site to say how you’re not into Nintendo anymore…:)

  21. lol @Richard. It’s true, and I’m pretty sure he’s in denial. One does not just give up on Hyrule, and Mushroom Kingdom.

  22. Nintendo is my gaming roots.

    I always root for the Bears and the Bulls, but I don’t watch all their games on some of those rebuilding seasons, though I’m still waiting for that comeback.

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