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The iPhone: A Serious Contender In The Handheld Game Market?

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#1 IMG News

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:06 AM

Roughly Drafted Magazine recently posted an article examining the iPhone and its potential as a gaming device. Apple's portable multimedia device is compared to the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP with a review of the hardware and software capabilities of each.

The iPhone is in a significantly different class of performance, has far more internal resources for games, and is equipped with a variety of other hardware–from its camera to its ubiquitous (if slow) mobile network to its multitouch high resolution display and accelerometers–all of which have to power to unlock entirely new classes of games and other more serious applications.

As a handheld console, this feature set makes the iPhone a bit like the Wii, with interactive new gameplay features, and a bit like the PS3, with higher performance gaming specs and additional online and media capabilities. Buyers won’t have to decide if they want a handheld game console; they’ll get it for free when they buy the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Further, because Apple is attaching game development as a sidecar dessert on top of a device that is primarily monetized as a hardware sale (boosted by retail and accessory sales, media sales, and carrier revenue sharing), developers will get more bang from their buck and will incur less risk developing games for the iPhone. The iPhone has also already proven itself as a very desirable smartphone, even before the arrival of any native games, ameliorating the worries of a whether games developers should invest in the platform.
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#2 TalonComics



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Posted 21 March 2008 - 09:43 AM

Sorry, I'll accept a lot of things regarding Apple products but this isn't one of them.

All of the game systems out there have one thing in common: Real buttons. If you're a gamer like me then you know the joy of button mashing and the satisfaction it can provide. ;) Seriously though, I think the iPhone/iTouch is a fantastic piece of hardware but if I want to play awesome handheld games I whip out the DS Lite. Unless Apple starts seriously courting Japanese game developers all gaming on the iPhone/iTouch (ie. shelling out the dough) is going to consist of crappy EA mini games.

I agree that games on the iPhone/iTouch are much better than the standard cell phone game though!

#3 nagromme


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Posted 21 March 2008 - 12:48 PM

Sounds like you want to play a different KIND of game than is now possible :) It also sounds like you think only EA has the iPhone SDK. Far from true--it's a free download. EA will be a drop in the bucket--and Japanese companies have already shown iPhone games too (Sega). Meanwhile the indie developers--who have tons of Cocoa experience and unique ideas--will bring the biggest wave of games.

And old-school button-mashing games are all very well... but I can't help remembering that once upon a time, pre-mouse, no PC gamer would have done without a joystick. Now, joystick driven games are but one of many categories. (Ask a Wii owner if button-mashing is still their favorite kind of game.)

The iPhone's strengths are DIFFERENT ones than past game handhelds. Not the same ones. Inflexible permanent buttons, tactile and predictable, are a strength for many games, I won't deny. But the iPhone has strengths too. The iPhone games that will be great (as with the Wii) won't be the same-old kind of interaction.

Tilt will be great for certain games but mostly just a minor novelty (because moving the screen you look at is not ideal). Multitouch will be huge. I like the vibrate potential too, but not on the Touch.

But the biggest factors that will make game sales take off for iPhone (and iPod touch) are more boring: it's got a super-simple means of acquiring games right on the home screen (don't underestimate that), it's got a very BIG touch screen in a very SMALL package, it's got powerful hardware (performance AND WiFi), and it's selling like crazy even WITHOUT games. Instead of a chicken-and-egg scenario, therefore, we have a huge mound of eggs, all ready to hatch.

As developers get used to the iPhone, we'll see (just like with Wii) some hard-to-play shovelware and a lot of really great games too.

And we won't have to lug a DS to play--we'll be able to play ALL  the time, right on our phone or iPod. No game handheld is worth anything on the days you leave it at home.

#4 teflon


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Posted 21 March 2008 - 02:52 PM

View Postnagromme, on March 21st 2008, 06:48 PM, said:

Far from true--it's a free download.

i thought it was $99

not to mention that while lots and lots of people have applied for it, it doesnt appear that too many have actually got their grubby mitts on it yet. Apple seem to be controlling the release quite carefully.
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#5 Eric5h5


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Posted 21 March 2008 - 04:06 PM

View Postteflon, on March 21st 2008, 04:52 PM, said:

i thought it was $99

Nope, it's free.  That's not what the $99 is for.