Sony and Nintendo’s unexpected challenger; Super Monkey Ball Sells 300,000 copies on iPhone

August 13, 2008

In the eleven hundredth iPhone post of the day… Fair enough, we’re all pretty sick of hearing about what this miracle device can do. Short of curing cancer there’s not much the little bugger can’t cope with; heck, maybe it can cure cancer if someone builds a Folding@home application (FoldingOnPhone?) for distribution via the AppStore… (The uninitiated can read about Folding@home here.)

As cool as all the technology is, what’s ultimately more important for us digital marketing folk is the viability of the platform when it comes to content distribution (both in pay-for and free categories). Sega’s Super Monkey Ball has just hit the 300,000 mark which, at AUD $12.99 a pop, is a considerable lump of change. It’s enough to make Sony and Nintendo sit up and take notice, particularly as their respective platforms (PSP and Nintendo DS) rely predominantly on physical media for content distribution. Sega US’s President Simon Jeffery agrees. “That’s a substantial business. It gives iPhone a justifiable claim to being a viable gaming platform.”

The phone may not have the controls required for traditional gaming but the quality and responsiveness of the touch screen and accelerometer could do for the mobile games space what the Wii has done for console gaming around the world.

So how do we take advantage of this? As iPhone and iPod touch sales continue to rise, distribution of free, engaging, branded content is an obvious winning formula. Carling’s iPint application is catching on like wildfire and given the size and scale of the application the development overheads would have been low. Investing in development for a platform owned and operated by one company might be a little uncomfortable but these days, shifting focus away from Apple in the digital landscape isn’t a wise move: Apple has proved that, technology aside, the iPhone is a viable distribution platform.

Watch this space.