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Apple will own games industry in 10 years - Phil Harrison

by Michael Arsenault on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 , under

Former PlayStation executive VP Phil Harrison has made the sensational prediction that Apple won't just dominate the video games industry in ten years' time - it will own it.Harrison knows a thing or two about industry trends, having been a key member of the Sony teams that launched all three PlayStation models.

"At this trajectory, if you extrapolate the market-share gains that they are making, forward for ten years - if they carry on unrestrained in their growth, then there's a pretty good chance that Apple will be the games industry," Harrison told Edge in a new interview.

When asked to clarify his point, Harrison said: "[I mean in terms of] the proliferation of devices - you've got iPhones, iPads, iPods, which are all part of the same ecosystem; the speed at which Apple sold 15 million iPads is phenomenal. And the number one activity on an iPad, according to some reports, is games, and I think that will only continue.

"The fact that the consumer purchase and discovery mechanism is so well integrated - you see something on the App Store, you click a button, the product delivers to your device. That end-to-end shopping experience, if you want to call it that, has been so elegantly built by Apple and they will continue to refine it. 

"I probably buy more through Amazon, in terms of value, than any other retailer throughout the year. I find that the rest of the world - meaning Apple, Amazon, Steam - are showing the future of how content will be consumed, adding to that NetFlix and LoveFilm and the like, and that console companies run the risk of becoming a little antiquated unless they change their business model."

Harrison joined Sony way back in 1992, and served as VP of 3rd Party Relations and Research and Development for SCEA from 1996 to 2000. In 2005, he took the role of president of Sony's worldwide studios network, overseeing developers including Evolution and Guerilla.

He left the platform holder in 2008 and joined Infogrames/Atari, but left two years later. He now sites on the board of Cloud gaming outfit Gaikai.
Although Apple didn't have a presence at this year's E3 2011, its Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) ran simultaneously in San Francisco.
20 comments more...


  • Michael Arsenault

    I thought I should share my opinion on this.
    So, most people use iPads to play games? Honestly, I'd rather get a Nintendo 3DS or a Playstation Vita.

    And I find it unlikely that Apple will own the games industry, their devices aren't cost effective enough for your average gamer to penetrate the market effectively enough to challenge the levels of success attained by Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.

    The sales numbers for iPhone apps are pretty impressive though, but the success of iPhone apps is built on the fact the fact that it's quick fix gaming. If that changes, I would imagine the sales paradigm would change too.

  • Ron S.

    I agree with the overall domination of gaming in general, but let's face it, a quick game of Angry Birds everyday isn't really "gaming." The major companies will still own hardcore gaming platforms. Sales wise, Apple will make bank however.

  • Anonymous

    Considering that Apple is infamous for being unsupportive to PC gaming, this is an ironic prediction.

  • Jordan

    Reasons why Apple won't take over the gaming scene
    1: Gamers are smart, no gamer is going to pay the extremely overpriced fee to play a game on an apple machine when they can build their own for 5X less.
    2: Apple doesn't always play well with 3rd party developers, and developers don't make much games for apple because apple users aren't real gamers. (a person who plays angry birds and the occasional glow hockey ARE NOT gamers)
    3: no right click! DUH, not going to work out nicely with ALL PC gamers who love their useful right click.
    4: relates to the first one, go look up apple PC games, they have 3+ year old games at 50$, such crap.

    I realize that Phil was talking mostly about portable gaming, and I say no.

    5: ipad/ipod don't have much computing power and just don't stand up to a PSP or a gameboy (yes I still call them gameboys :D )

    6: Their devices lack buttons which highly limits the depth of games that they can create. All their games are very superficial and will not fulfill most gamers desires.

    I'm sure I missed something so if you guys want to point this out.

    "U mad?" : yes, I am kind of mad, Apple is overpriced, poor/reduced functionality/privileges for all users/developer, and way over rated. Yet, somehow they still succeed, through their use of strong branding and simplicity of their products down to the level of stupid.

  • Thundering

    Definitely won't happen. Apple computers are way too damn expensive and they will never cater to the hardcore gamers. There isn't a single PC gamer out there that is going to switch to a closed platform.

  • Stereocool

    I dont really think this is true. Apple is introducing games to the mac computers until now (couple of years back the most). Sony is very strong and microsoft as well. Visit my blog, I have really good music to listen there.

  • prisoner art

    That's a very interesting statement as regards retailing - i think he's hit on something there - making shopping a simple point and click, seamless exercise.
    Not quite there yet, but close.
    It certainly explains the rapid growth of online retail sales -regular retailing is a huge hassle by comparison - although you can feel the goods in real life, which is probably the only thing keeping non-essential goods stores in business.

  • Anthony

    There will always be competition, and that's beside the fact that there are people out there who will never buy an apple product for one reason or another. Personally I don't see Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo going anywhere soon. Yes, Apple will probably dominate the portable gaming market, but most definitely not the entire thing

  • Anonymous

    Complete nonsense. At least he made a prediction for 10 years down the road so he won't be held accountable when it doesn't happen.

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