This has been a familiar refrain around my house all year and now I get it from my four year old after he’s blown a few tunes on the Ocarina and Tap Tapped out a few more on my iphone. It all started last November with a concerted campaign by my eleven year old to secure an ipod touch for Christmas. Santa held out this year and believe me there were tears. “It’s not fair, all of my friends have got one” was the next line of attack and when I consulted with other parents I found out it was all true. I didn’t buckle at the knees all at once, in fact I held out until his birthday in July which is a relatively tough stand given the life cycle of technological gadgetry. The ipod Touch is certainly a popular device and many hours are wiled away playing games, listening to music, watching videos and endlessly customising it’s look and feel. Needless to say it was jailbroken fairly early in its life cycle.
So Steve Job’s presentation this week bore few surprises for me about the success of the Touch as a games device. When I did my ring around of other parents earlier this year and found out how many local 11 and 12 year olds owned their own Touch I knew something was going on. The pace of this growth is pretty astounding as you can see in the statistics quoted in this Venturebeat article.
There are more than 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches in the market. That is within spitting distance of the 51 million Sony PSPs sold, which explains why Sony is launching the PSP Go model — a new and improved handheld game system with flash memory instead of a proprietary drive. And though the Apple platform is only two years old, it is more than half way to Nintendo’s 100 million-plus installed base of DS handhelds, which have reached that number after almost six years on the market.
And the sheer numbers of games and apps available for the Touch also blow Nintendo and Sony out of the water. By making the platform so open to independent developers they’ve ensured there are a huge range of apps available and some of them you even want to play. The jury’s out to see if this new version of Genius makes it any easier to find good ones.