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Is Qualcomm Missing Out On 200M Device Opportunity?

by User Not Found | Aug 17, 2011

I listened in recently to an analyst webinar given by Dave Durnil, director of advanced content at Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. Dave's role is to convince games publishers that Qualcomm's Snapdragon system-on-chip platform is suitable for "console-quality" games. So far things seem to be going well, with more than a 100 games optimized to the Snapdragon platform.

Qualcomm’s strategy, according to Durnil, is based on the premise that smartphones will replace TV games consoles. Durnil provided various statistics which demonstrate the “decline” of the console market, which do not match Strategy Analytics’ own analysis, so that’s an unfortunate place to start the discussion.

There’s no question that the quality of games on handset devices is improving rapidly, and will continue to do so through more advanced mobile platforms like Snapdragon. But why is Qualcomm asking the question, will phones replace consoles? If it truly expects Snapdragon to match or exceed the capabilities of TV consoles in the future, surely it could enter the dedicated TV console market and sell even more devices?

The flawed assumption seems to be that consumers are willing to use their handsets as TV peripherals, using either an HDMI lead or short-range wireless connection. Our research so far has suggested this type of behaviour is something which only a small number of people are interested in: for example, in our July 2011 consumer survey, only 6% of 4800 respondents said they were very interested in using a mobile phone to send high definition TV and video to a TV set.

Many people also doubt whether a mobile-dedicated platform really will be able to compete head-to-head with a TV-based one, but let’s also put those doubts to one side for the sake of argument. If Qualcomm is right, and Snapdragon really will be able to compete with PS4 and Xbox720, what is to stop the company offering its technology platform to console manufacturers, as well as handset makers? Games publishers would presumably be delighted at the prospect of authoring to a common mobile/TV platform.

The concern, as we have seen with Nokia in the past, is that a strategy focused on traditional strengths can blind a firm to growth potential outside of its comfort zone. Qualcomm should be careful not to fall into that trap: its gaming strategy suggests that it could have a future beyond just the handheld device. 200 million TV games consoles will be sold worldwide over the next five years – is Qualcomm missing out?

David Mercer

Client Reading: Global Connected Consumer Electronics (CE) Devices Market Forecast


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