Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Portables (Games) Apple Games

iPhone Shakes Up the Video Game Industry 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the shakes-down-customers dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Troy Wolverton writes in the Mercury News that in less than a year, the iPhone has become a significant game platform, but its bigger impact could be to help change the way the game industry does business. 'It's got everything you need to be a game changer,' said Neil Young, co-founder and CEO of ngmoco, which develops games solely for the iPhone. With a year under its belt and an installed base of iPhone and iPod Touch owners at around forty million, the iPhone/iPod Touch platform has eclipsed next-gen console penetration numbers and started to catch up to the worldwide penetration of both Sony's (50 million) and Nintendo's (100 million) devices. Wolverton writes that not only is the iPhone one of the first widely successful gaming platforms in which games are completely digitally distributed, but on the iPhone, consumers can find more games updated more often, and at a cheaper cost per game than what they'd find on a typical dedicated game console. While an ordinary top-of-the-line game for Microsoft's Xbox 360 sells for about $60, and one for Nintendo's DS about $30, a top-of-the-line iPhone game typically sells for no more than $10. With traditional games, developers might wait a year or two between major releases; ngmoco is planning on releasing new versions of its games for the iPhone every four to five months. 'You have to think differently,' says Young. 'It's redefining what it means to be a publisher in this world.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

iPhone Shakes Up the Video Game Industry

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:32PM (#28362791) Journal

    'It's got everything you need to be a game changer,' said Neil Young

    Young went on to say that the iPhone "keeps him searching for a game of gold" and went on to speak of the coming mobile console war:

    There's fanboi lines bein' drawn
    A-nobody's right if everybody's wrong
    Young people spendin' their dimes
    A-iPhone sales leavin' others far behind

    • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:04PM (#28363201)

      iPhone + iPod Touch: ~30 million. Phone/iPod.
      PSP: ~48 million. Games device/media player.
      DS + DSi: ~105 million. Games device.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jo42 (227475)

        Correction:

        iPhone + iPod touch: 40+ million.

        Source? WWDC 2009 [gizmodo.com].

        • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:48PM (#28363811)

          Numbers I got were from March. I didn't watch Apple's conference and couldn't be bothered to look it up.

          Either way, my point still stands.
          Apple is FAR from the DS, and has NOT positioned its products as game devices.

          Hell, they don't even have real buttons.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by blahplusplus (757119)

            "Apple is FAR from the DS, and has NOT positioned its products as game devices."

            I'd also like to add that lower penetration of game consoles one can understand whether or not your cusotmers are *interested* in games themselves. Saying a phone has an installed base greater then consoles isn't something to be proud of if most of your customers don't game on their phones. Just because some people play games on their phones doesn't mean everyone with owns that kind of phone does.

        • The Other Shoe (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @03:12PM (#28364859) Homepage Journal
          In addition to the rapid growth of the platform's installed base, the flood of interest in iPhone gaming has some interesting characteristics:
          • game developers are learning Objective C, Cocoa, and libraries like Core Animation,
          • game developers seem to like the Apple platform and tools,
          • games are being ported to and developed for OS X, which is really "Mac OS X Mobile Edition".

          Together, these substantially reduce the marginal costs of, and the psychological barriers to, porting games to Mac OS X. Apple could do a few things to shake the gaming industry up even more.

          • License Mac OS X and/or iPhone OS X to another game console maker for next generation consoles.
          • Extend the reach of Apple TV into the gaming console market by adding some horsepower, features, and accessories.
          • Buy one or more prominent game content makers, like, oh, say... Blizzard Entertainment, perhaps.

          Those sort of moves might seem unlikely, but might not be all that far fetched. Licensing OSX to a game console maker is even conceivable, since it doesn't present the threat that licensing to clone makers did to the Mac. One such licensing agreement would vault Cocoa to the top gaming platform.

          Apple could absorb a few game content providers without smothering the life out of them, as apparently the Microsoft acquisition of Bungie [nwsource.com] threatened to do, until Bungie managed to burst out of Microsoft screaming, "liberation!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBCook (132727)

        Development costs:

        • iPhone + iPod Touch: $100 (possibly plus Mac, which is $600, chepaer used)
        • PSP: $1500 (source [pgnx.net])
        • DS: ??? (can't find, guessing a few grand)

        So for $100, you can make all the iPhone apps you want. Even if you sell them to only 100 people, you can do it easily. With the DS and PSP you have to get official dev kits, get your game approved, find a publisher....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Golias (176380)

          This is all well and good, but all I want to know is when somebody will release a Katamari game for the iPhone!

          Back when I had a PSP, that was, by far, the most addictive game in their lineup. A version that worked off the iPhone's tilt sensor would be even cooler.

          (Disclaimer: Yes, I'm aware that it will probably never happen. It's nice to dream, though.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MBCook (132727)

            Available for a while now, see here [wired.com].

            It's not that great. The tilt control feels lose, and the levels feel very small.

            Kinda neat, but just not "there".

  • Attention Span = 0 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:34PM (#28362823)
    Thanks to the Zero Attention Span Theater Generation we get vapid video games (as opposed to substantive ones of old) and 15 second "music videos". Now get off my lawn.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:42PM (#28362909)
      tl;dr
    • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:59PM (#28363141) Homepage Journal

      Thanks to the Zero Attention Span Theater Generation we get vapid video games (as opposed to substantive ones of old)

      Substantive games like...Pac-Man and Tetris? Or maybe you meant those complex, nuanced tabletop games like Solitaire or Cribbage. Seriously, do you really desire to play Xenogears while you're waiting in line at the bank? Think of the implications that has for your battery life. Sorry, I agree that everyone needs to work on their attention span, but putting long, complicated games on the cell phone just doesn't make sense.

      • It sure as hell doesn't, but it pisses me off that some companies keep whoring shit out to them (CAPCOM).

        I believe there's still some Phoenix Wright stuff not available anywhere other than cell phones. Ughhh.

      • by MBaldelli (808494) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:12PM (#28363301) Homepage

        Thanks to the Zero Attention Span Theater Generation we get vapid video games (as opposed to substantive ones of old)

        Substantive games like...Pac-Man and Tetris? Or maybe you meant those complex, nuanced tabletop games like Solitaire or Cribbage. Seriously, do you really desire to play Xenogears while you're waiting in line at the bank? Think of the implications that has for your battery life. Sorry, I agree that everyone needs to work on their attention span, but putting long, complicated games on the cell phone just doesn't make sense.

        Christ on a drunken rampage, you have got to be kidding me. What is so bleeding hard to stand in a bank line all of at most 10-20 minutes for doing business at a bank that you have to be twiddling your thumbs or playing with the gravity controls on your iPhone to play a game?

        Or 8 - 15 minutes in line at the grocery store?

        Or 10 - 20 minutes at the cinema (that's if you don't pull an order online for those tickets and take at most 5 minutes at the will-call line)?

        Must your attention be constantly filled with something on a 2 inch screen with pretty graphics?

        You talk about people needing to work on their attention span, but what they really need to do is work on their patience , which you didn't remotely cover when playing advocate in this argument here.

        • by rho (6063) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @02:52PM (#28364605) Homepage Journal

          You talk about people needing to work on their attention span, but what they really need to do is work on their patience , which you didn't remotely cover when playing advocate in this argument here.

          One man's patience is another man's wasted time.

          For one, why am I standing in line? Lines usually indicate a lack of planning on the part of the line-maker. There's not much in this world that actually requires a line except to provide a terrible job for the otherwise unemployable. So already my time is being poorly utilized. Two, of what benefit is there to staring at the back of the head of the person in front of you? Here "patience" is a word that means "can't think of any better way to spend your time and is therefore satisfied by the mere act of breathing". Three, to ward off the usual rebuttal, I have little to no interest in chatting with the people around me. Most people are stupid, crazy, or some combination of both. For them, having a chance to talk to me, a genius, is an unexpected joy in their mean, puny lives. For me it is an unbearable hardship, as I'm regaled with dubious tales about their last hunting trip or some damn thing.

          Now I agree that somebody who requires a video game to divert their attention is probably also witless, but at least they're quiet and don't talk to me. However, using an iPhone (or iPod Touch) to read Proust while I'm in line is one of the few ways I can endure close quarters with the proles, ever since they banned quarterstaff duels at First National. I'll stick the earbuds in as well, even if I'm not listening to music, so I have an excuse to ignore conversation starters like, "You know that Obama isn't actually a US citizen, right?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meta-monkey (321000)
        There are some complex games, though, and I hope there'll be more. I just finished Zenonia [ign.com] on my iPhone. It's an original content game, reminiscent of Zelda on the SNES, but with modern updates like a Diablo-style loot system. The first play-through took me 38 hours. That's a real game. I mean, it's the sort of game people would have bought for $60 on the SNES and said "this is a good game!" And now I get it on my phone for $4.99. That's not bad. Oh, and you can play it in line at the bank, because
    • by alen (225700)

      because all the campy crap from the 1990's was so deep and full of substance. like a plumber jumping around for 20 levels is deep

    • Thanks to the Zero Attention Span Theater Generation we get vapid video games (as opposed to substantive ones of old) and 15 second "music videos". Now get off my lawn.

      Don't blame it on the kids; they don't even have enough money to buy an iPhone these days (they're spending their cellphone bill, you know, talking and texting). It's everybody else who buys these $10 turds transformed into 0's and 1's that we should be complaining about.

    • by sootman (158191)

      You mean Short Attention Span Theater. [wikipedia.org]

      You know, it really bugs me when people can't... ooh, look! shiny!

  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:37PM (#28362845)
    The only place where you can measure the rate of iPhone stories in hertz and get an integer.
  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:40PM (#28362875)

    As a mobile developer, I cannot deny the strength in numbers of iphone users. That said, I really don't see how any company is making enough money to keep afloat (unless the company is just a handful of people). Also, I'm sure a significant number of people are only using the free apps and using their phone as a phone, rather than as a game console.

    Likewise, I very much doubt that a gamer is getting an iphone just so that they can play all of the latest iphone games.

    If the company can succeed doing this, great. If people want to buy their games every 5-6 months, wonderful. But it's not shaking up the industry at all.

    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Informative)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:01PM (#28363163)

      iPhone + iPod Touch: ~30 million, sold as a phone / iPod

      PSP: ~48 million, sold as a games device / media player

      DS + DSi: ~105 million, sold as a games device

      The DS also has 77 games that have sold over 1 million copies at an average price of $35.

      7 titles have sold more than 10 million copies.

      Nintendogs has sold 22.5 million copies.

      The DS, despite RAMPANT piracy, has pushed over 420 million pieces of software.

      If you're a games developer who likes money, the answer is pretty damned obvious.

      • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Informative)

        by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@gmail.cPASCALom minus language> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:06PM (#28363233)
        There is, however, a much lower barrier to entry on the iPhone/iPod Touch than there is for the DS. Nintendo requires you to get approval for your game before you start, and you have to be a registered, paid developer to get a look at their Dev Kit. In part, this is to try and keep the overall quality of software on the platform high, and it has been since the NES days.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by toppavak (943659)
          This lower barrier to entry puts the platform on par with online flash games, not portable consoles. Even the platform itself is best suited to the type of game you play to pass the 5-30 minutes it takes your train/bus/etc to reach its destination. While the size of the iPhone market is significant, comparing it to the DS/PSP market is comparing apples to oranges. Every DS/PSP owner bought theirs to play games on, what percentage of iPhone owners would even care about a new $30 FPS for their phone, let alon
    • Edge did an article on Xbox live games in their June issue which is also available here: http://www.edge-online.com/magazine/community-games-creation-myths [edge-online.com]

      I think this pretty much sums up mobile games and pretty much any other very cheap quick gaming markets.

      Some people do make money and some games are good but the vast majority of these markets are full of shit games and aren't making money.

      Mobile phones especially suffer from this, imo, because the hardware just isn't made for gaming. Even the iphon

    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:50PM (#28363827) Homepage Journal

      I'm sure a significant number of people are only using the free apps and using their phone as a phone, rather than as a game console.

      Bingo. Some percentage (90%? 50%? 10%? 1%?) of 40M iPhone/iPod customers are play games on their devices, but for the PSP and DS I'm pretty sure the numbers are 100% and 100%, respectively.

      I wouldn't go so far as to say it's shaking up the industry, but on the other hand it's clear that it is a substantial market, and a different kind of market. You're no longer bound to make huge games for millions of dollars and hope it's a hit. You can make smaller games (and yes, this certainly favors smaller shops) for less money that sell for smaller amounts but come out more often and still do well.

  • by Xistenz99 (1395377) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:40PM (#28362877)
    "a top-of-the-line iPhone game typically sells for no more than $10" That's because the top of the line game on iPhone is no where near comparable to the new games and new ports of those systems
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dr. Manhattan (29720)

      That's because the top of the line game on iPhone is no where near comparable to the new games and new ports of those systems

      What looks fine on a 480x320 screen doesn't look quite so hot in 720p, let alone 1080p. The length of gaming session's going to be rather different, too.

      Of course there's a lucrative model and market for iPhone games. But they are different things entirely from console games, occupying a different ecological niche. It's like comparing hyenas and lions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by XxtraLarGe (551297)

      "a top-of-the-line iPhone game typically sells for no more than $10" That's because the top of the line game on iPhone is no where near comparable to the new games and new ports of those systems

      Compare the scores of Assassin's Creed on the iPhone/iPod Touch [ign.com] vs. Assassin's Creed on the DS [ign.com]. The games are almost identical, but the iPhone version is considered quite a bit better.

  • To quote: "While an ordinary top-of-the-line game for Microsoft's Xbox 360 sells for about $60, and one for Nintendo's DS about $30, a top-of-the-line iPhone game typically sells for no more than $10."

    I don't own any of these devices, but how do these games compare? Is a top-of-the-line iPhone game as cool or complex as a top-of-the-line DS game? Isn't it a different kind of game -- certainly a different game experience?

    • by Robert1 (513674) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:01PM (#28363169) Homepage

      The games are pretty incomparable. Xbox360/PS3 games are entirely apart from the hand-held games both in terms of graphics and gameplay.

      Compared to the DS, iPhone games are terribly shallow and comparable to regular cell phone games. They are designed to be played for 1-2 minutes at a time and not touched again for days. The games have no "continuity" in that they rarely have progression - tending instead to be levels that you can choose from or the same objective over and over again.

      I've always found the iPhone games to get boring very quickly both due to the lack of complexity and lack of depth. They've burned me enough times that I'll only download free games, play them a handful of times and move on.

      An apt analogy would be comparing internet based flash games to multimillion high budget PC games. Sure they're both "games" but I would be pretty hard pressed to actually consider flash based games what I call "true games," since high budget and flash games have no overlap and usually completely separate audiences (gamers vs non-gamers). In the same sense, iPhone games are the flash game of the hand-held world; I feel the don't really represent any sort of actual competition for "real games," rather serving as a quick time waster when you're bored and you have your phone handy (just think of it as every other phone based game).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Robert1 (513674)

        As an aside for something I just realized:

        The video game market crash of the early 80s was caused by the quantity of poor titles and lack of quality control - eventually driving away costumers who had been burned too many times buying shitty games. Of course, this took years to occur since games were expensive and it took a certain threshold of shitty games before the consumer just gave up.

        In this way the digital distribution actually hurts iPhone brand as a gaming machine, because you can reach the point o

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Brandee07 (964634)

          The problem with that idea is that you're a lot more likely to feel bitter after sinking $60 on a crappy game. If you bought 5 crappy games on an iPhone, and each of them cost anywhere between $0 and $5, you may have lost a total of $10-20.

          Most of the games I've purchased for my iPhone range from crappy to mediocore. However, I'll never regret that $.99 on Solebon Solitare, and I won't mourn the $.99 spent on that crappy Zuma clone. It amused me for about an hour, which is not bad for a dollar.

          I spend abo

    • by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:04PM (#28363199)

      I don't own any of these devices, but how do these games compare? Is a top-of-the-line iPhone game as cool or complex as a top-of-the-line DS game? Isn't it a different kind of game -- certainly a different game experience?

      I played Cooking Mama lite on the iPhone and couldn't really tell a difference between it and the DS version. Same for the "My Little Pony" ports.

      What? Why is everyone looking at me?

  • I never... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Drone69 (1517261)
    considered games on a cell phone before. While some of my phones have supported games I wasn't interested. That is until I saw the iPhone commercials. Now an iPhone 3GS is on this years' xmas list. :)
    • by vertinox (846076)

      I never considered games on a cell phone before.

      Besides the net hack, tetris, and brick buster clones on previous models I never thought about playing games on my Phone either.

      I did download Wolfenstein3d for nostalgias sake (in fact the only game I've bought for the iPhone) and have to say its pretty fun.

      I wonder if they do have a nethack clone for free out there in the iPhone store.

      • Rogue has been ported. I'm not sure how Nethack would do, since the GPL doesn't appear to work very well with the app store terms. I'm hoping that Angband gets ported, but that may have the same licence issues.

  • The price is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:43PM (#28362913)

    One thing (Sony especially) that other companies need to take note of is the price for these digital only games on the iPod.

    Ten dollars or less is a good price range for a game you can't lend or sell. Paying current full retail price for a umd psp game for a digital only download that you can't move off of your system is an idea that isn't going to play out in Sony's favor. The DSi still has a card slot so there's still the illusion that you still will be able to own your games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PJ1216 (1063738) *
      Digital download-only games for the PSP are cheaper than UMD games. UMD games also available for download are again, cheaper. They're not $10, but they're significantly cheaper. Also, they're tied to your PSN login name, not your system. You can play the games on other systems as long as you can log in. If you can't log in, then I believe it has to be the system you purchased it on or at least one thats been logged in with your name before. I've transferred games from various PSP's and to and from a PS3 (ga
    • I think the highest price for DSi Ware is $10. Though they do it in point which is a bad habit started by MS and xbox live. Anyway, DSI ware, at the moment, isn't much better than mobile gaming (aside from better controls) so you can get mobile phone experience on the DS and also get a superior experience with the physical games.
  • Seems odd to me that they have sold 40 million of these. I would imaging that they suck as a phone, and are damned expensive on a monthly basis. Then again.. I'm a cheap bastard. Now get off my lawn!

    • Seems odd to me that they have sold 40 million of these. I would imaging that they suck as a phone, and are damned expensive on a monthly basis.

      [Insert various Heinlein quotes about human stupidity and generalized foolishness here]

      That's why Steve is richer than you (or me or anyone else here). We just don't Get It.

      But our lawns are nice and neat and green.

  • saturation point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rarel (697734) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:44PM (#28362933) Homepage
    Am I the only one who's starting to be completely saturated by iPhone stories posted left and right and how it's awesome and shiny and great?
    I swear it's like the damn thing is going to save the world. Even for nerds there must be other topics of conversation, right?

    ...Right?

    I think I've reached the point of hype backlash. I might have been somewhat interested in the iPhone at the beginning, but now I'm just tired of seeing it everywhere.

    I bow to the Apple marketing team though. They are doing a truly excellent job. Honestly.

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:23PM (#28363431)

      Am I the only one who's starting to be completely saturated by iPhone stories posted left and right and how it's awesome and shiny and great?

      Nope. But the iPhone's not alone. I'm f'n tired of Pre stories around here. I've heard enough about FireFox, too.

      I think I've reached the point of hype backlash.

      I think that point happened for most ppl here around a year or so ago when a line of people materialized at an Apple store a month before the 3G was announced. Everybody assumed it was people just waiting in line for the new vapor phone. It was believable. Untrue, but believable. Now people spout reasons not to like the phone, regardless of whether they're true or whether or not they really matter. (I cannot cast stones here, really. I did this exact same stuff with the PS3 back when it was announced.)

      I bow to the Apple marketing team though. They are doing a truly excellent job. Honestly.

      Eh, I personally think it's their product design team. They essentially made the PocketPC we've been wanting since the late 90's. The success of a product with a good web-browser and an ubiquitous internet connetion was inevitable. Both Microsoft and Palm utterly failed to put those two ingredients together. Apple does it, and blammo, everybody can see the potential of it. With potential comes imagination. With imagination comes hype. I think most of the iPhone's hype has come from the people interested in it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by causality (777677)

      I think I've reached the point of hype backlash.

      I don't believe it should take much to reach that point, either. To quote Henry David Thoreau (emphasis mine):

      "And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter -- we never need read of another. O

    • Am I the only one who's starting to be completely saturated by iPhone stories posted left and right and how it's awesome and shiny and great?

      I swear it's like the damn thing is going to save the world. Even for nerds there must be other topics of conversation, right?

      You are not the only one. Unfortunately for us, nothing drives up web traffic like topics which are prone to start flame wars (ie. iPhone, Palm Pre, Apple, Microsoft, PS3, Xbox 360).

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:46PM (#28362977)

    As an avid iPod touch user (and iPhone if Apple ever gets one onto Verizon . . .), I must say that the vast majority of the games I've seen for the platform is just too gimmicky. The system has plenty horsepower for simple stuff that might be a good diversion (think Pacman, Asteroids, Space Invaders - or even some more powerful stuff - I recently downloaded Myst for my iPod), but the touch screen interface is just terrible for gaming purposes.

    I just don't see it cutting into Gameboy sales that much. On the other hand as an APPLICATION platform the little bugger is amazing. Sure it's an "iPod" suggesting music player (which is does indeed do, and do well), but my iPod touch is about the best damned PDA I've ever used. There are apps for everything I need, and much unlike most cell phone browsers of old (including the one on the Blackberry Curve that I have for work), the included version of Safari actually works for almost any site I want to visit. I might have to zoom in/out to see some things, but I can use the page at least.

    To tell the truth mine has replaced 95% of what I would use a laptop for. My laptop now has become truly a "portable computer" like the old ones that you just lugged around. I'll take it on a trip to use in the hotel room, but for when I'm actually out and about, in a coffee shop, etc, the iPod is smaller, lighter, and is always with me. Battery life is great too.

    All in all I truly do see them as revolutionary devices, just not so much on the gaming front.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kindbud (90044)

      As an avid iPod touch user (and iPhone if Apple ever gets one onto Verizon . . .)

      PHS-300 [cradlepoint.com] + Verizon UM-175 [evdoinfo.com] + iPod touch does nearly what you want. If only Apple would release an iPod touch with a camera and GPS chip.

    • I've been fairly impressed by the controls that some developers have devised. Simcity is working pretty well for me, and Wolf3D and some other shooting games are quite easy to control. The screen definitely limits certain types of games though.

  • Full size games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brandee07 (964634)

    What the iPhone needs are FULL SIZE games, not these cheap, quick, and shallow things currently available. There's a lot of arcade style stuff, puzzle style stuff, and very flat approximations of every other genre of game.

    In fact, the only games on the iPhone outside of the puzzle/arcade variety that I'd term full-size are Myst and Wolfenstien. That's not to say that the only possible good games on the iPhone are ports of old games, but that if you want to fit a full size game on an iPhone, you need to giv

  • by Jonathan (5011) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:50PM (#28363017) Homepage

    Really, I have yet to see an iPhone game that captured my attention for more than an hour or two -- even the recent version of the Sims for the iPhone is a very stripped down version of the real game. A DS or full fledged console or computer game may cost $30 or more but I expect I'll get at least 50 hours of enjoyment out of it....

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:51PM (#28363033)

    While I applaud the growing market for games of the complexity and graphic resolution of twenty years ago, I am holding off from buying an iPhone until someone develops an app which monitors the motion sensors and battery level and bills me every time i charge up the phone or take it out of my pocket, and maybe it could bill me every time I change from one cell reception area to the next.

  • What people play on the iphone are time-passers. Mere distractions.

    While the platform is certainly selling these time passing distraction apps, I don't believe I'll call it a serious games platform.

    Business goes where the money is. Sometimes the money is in wasting your time.

  • Different markets (Score:5, Informative)

    by FLoWCTRL (20442) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:52PM (#28363041) Journal

    This is silly; mobile devices and "full size" gaming systems have to be considered different markets.

    I can write documents on my iPhone, but that doesn't mean I won't be buying word processing software for computers any more.

    • While Nintendo might be worried about it getting in on the DS's market, I doubt they are concerned about it getting in on the Wii's market. I'm quite sure that mobile gaming will be a large market, and it doesn't surprise me that a big share will start happening on phones since they are now very capable devices. However, people are not going to abandon their computers/game consoles for their phones.

    • This is silly; mobile devices and "full size" gaming systems have to be considered different markets.

      I can write documents on my iPhone, but that doesn't mean I won't be buying word processing software for computers any more.

      Completely agreed. I even think this is largely true of the Wii vs. 360/PS3 markets. I don't think the same people are choosing one over the other. Some people are interested in both, but even those people, I think, are imagining them filling different roles and considering them against different opportunity costs.

    • by sorak (246725)
      The other thing is that they assume that "40million people with iPhones"=="40million people with PSPs". No, the 40million people with iPhones bought them to use as cell phones. They are less likely to shell out $50 for the next GTA game than the 40 million who bought video game systems to use as video game systems.
  • iPhone-only game producer says iPhone is a great games platform (and asks for VC capital???)

    Can we please have a separate category in /. for iPhone articles: I'd really like a way to filter out the dross from the iPhone-cultist crowd.

  • by Drakin020 (980931)

    Maybe it's also because the games that are released also contain updates to make the game more fun.

    For instance, I downloaded a game called Flight Path. They recently came out with an update containing more maps, and different kinds of planes.

    Now in the PC or console industry, they would just re-box this and call it Left 4 Dead 2....

  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @12:55PM (#28363085)

    The article seems to be more hype than anything else, but it does hit on a couple of good points.

    Yes, the iPhone platform has shaken up the industry, due to the digital distribution of games. This has a lot to do with timing (you need oodles of cheap flash memory for this) but it also builds on the fundamentals of how the iTunes store has built up over the years. It's clearly proven that digital distribution of games can be viable, and you're going to see a lot of this in the future. Both to sell games that would never be viable retail releases due to pricing (micro transactions come to gaming), and because everyone wants to cut Gamestop out of the loop.

    And no, the iPhone platform has not shaken up the industry, due to hardware designs. The hardware is fundamentally that of a phone. The processor is overpowered and the GPU is underpowered for gaming, and the whole thing eats too much power when you ramp up the *PUs. The DS gets something ungodly (10+ hours) and even the PSP can do 5+ hours with its better graphics. The controls are also lacking - a touch screen is good for some things (e.g. Solitaire) and bad for others (e.g. Super Mario Brothers). iPhoneOS 3.0 will allow what amounts to button caddies, but since buttons aren't standard they can't be counted on. The hardware means it's an additional avenue for gaming, but it's not necessarily a threat to traditional handhelds like the DS/PSP.

  • Big deal! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wytten (163159) <wytten@[ ]umn.edu ['cs.' in gap]> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:15PM (#28363329) Homepage

    ...and I'm not being sarcastic, if my 11 year old son is any indication of what is happening around the country.

    He saved all his birthday, christmas and allowance money for months to buy an iPod touch and spends way
    too much time playing games on it. Most of the games are free or only cost a couple of bucks, meaning he
    can get near-instant gratification without having to save $50 to buy a console game. He uses it almost
    exclusively as a game platform, even to the point of using a clunky old mp3 player for music, in order to save the
    iPod touch battery for game play.

  • There is no bigger risk for a game developer, than to have his entire project being blocked, because some company found it "objectionable"
    Which could also mean: We have a deal with your competitor. (Usually EA.)

    Give me a standardized platform that is not dependent on a single company (=point of failure), and you have a developer studio on your side.

  • Come on (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kuzb (724081) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:18PM (#28363369)

    The iphone is so limited as a game platform it's silly to try to compare it. The touch screen does work well for some kinds of games, but it's an absolutely horrid interface for a lot of others.

    Shooters do not work well with the touch interface. Racing games do not work well with the touch interface. Sports games do not work well with the touch interface. Platformers do not work well with the touch interface. Right there, you've accounted for (conservative estimate) more than half of the game market. The iphone/touch is great at what it does, but it isn't very good as a portable game system. People are still better off getting a DS or PSP if they want that kind of thing, because let's face it. Having a lot of games doesn't mean you have a lot of good games that have interfaces which are implemented well.

    • It kind of depends on the complexity of the shooter. UT2K would be tricky due to it's large selection of weapons and abilities, but the older-style shooters translate pretty nicely. Wolf3D is entertaining, and I've played some nice top-down shooters as well. It's just about developers understanding the platform and then developing games appropriate to it. I can't imagine WoW working terrible well on a simple console controller, since there are too may abilities to map to keys. Even if you present them as bu

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Graymalkin (13732)

      Rail shooters work pretty well on the iPhone, i.e. Time Crisis works well enough on the iPhone. Wolf3D is also fun to play and I'm looking forward to Doom. There's nothing inherently wrong with rail shooters and there's likely a lot of legs to that type of game on touch devices. A lot of FPSes are effectively on rails but allow free movement to give the illusion that they're not. On the iPhone such a game could just be a rail shooter and let you focus on the shooting part. More to the point, games have adap

  • "with a year under its belt and an installed base of iPhone and iPod Touch owners at around forty million"

    iPhone OS 2 has only been out for a year. Has everyone already forgotten then the iphone itself has been out for 2 solid years?

  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @01:29PM (#28363511)
    The only complain I have about iPhone games is the big guy who sat in the middle seat on the plane and excitedly played one of those tilt-sensitive race car games all flight. I was elbowed a thousand times. Other than that iPhone games are pretty neat.
  • What is the 3d chip in the iphone capable of doing? More specifically, how does it compare to the power of an older console like the playstation 2? John Carmack has stated that he thinks Quake 3 could be ported to the iphone : is this really possible?
  • Nintendo DS lite: $99 street price ($129 list). iPhone: $99 - $400 + 2 year contract + give your social security number to AT&T to get a credit check. An iPhone is not attanable by a 12 year old mowing lawns.
  • Call me when someone ports Nethack to the iPhone. Or figures out a good mobile device type interface for roguelikes in general.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes

Working...