Is comparing iOS and console game totals fair?

Is it fair to compare iOS and console games? Or are the two in completely separate categories?

TUAW

Earlier today The Unofficial Apple Weblog posted a story comparing the number of games available for the iOS platform to the total amount of console games made in the last 25 years. To the surprise of no one, TUAW concluded that there are roughly three times as many iOS games than consoles titles. The comparison was done to demonstrate the "staggering size" of iOS' game library, but we're not sure the assessment is entirely fair.

The post has since been updated twice (as of 6 p.m. ET) with the author responding to user comments, exploring the definition of a "game," acknowledging the inherent differences between console and iOS games, noting the similar "staggering" statistics of Flash game sites like Newgrounds, and updating the post with fresher iOS game totals. Kudos to Mr. Gaywood; he did his research and we've got no problems with the story--we like TUAW and read it all the time.

However, his post got us thinking: is it entirely fair to compare iOS and console game totals? Saying iOS has three times the number of titles as 25 years of console gaming is almost like saying YouTube has provided us with 100 times the number of movies Hollywood has produced.

While we're on that point, we're also not sure categorizing all of these pieces of software as "games" is exactly fair, either. To reuse the YouTube analogy, surely every piece of content streaming there isn't a "film," just like the Angry Birds experience isn't really comparable to Fallout: New Vegas.

We're not looking to take a shot at iOS games, but just like any other medium, there a few gems, a ton of bad ones, and the vast majority of which are floating somewhere in the sea of mediocrity. When just about anyone with a pulse can develop software for a platform, it's logical that the total number of products will proportionally represent that accessibility. Covering the 42,000 or so iOS and 17,150 console games with the same blanket doesn't really seem right, but we've noticed Apple doing so in past keynotes.

What do you think? Is it fair to compare iOS and console games? Or are the two in completely separate categories? Surely no one can deny that the casual game market is a booming and legitimate industry; we just want the line between it and console games to be a bit more defined.

About the author

Jeff has been at CNET for more than five years covering games, tech, and pop culture. When he's not playing ice hockey or pinball, you can catch him live every day as the host of CNET's infamous daily show, The 404 Show and every Friday in CNET's first-ever tech comic, Low Latency.

 

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