Apple Says it's Not Playing Around in the Videogames Market

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crash bandicoot iphoneWhat do you think? Can the iPhone and iPod Touch compete as gaming platforms with the likes of Sony's hugely popular Playstation Portable or Nintendo's DS? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Apple execs, including head boss Steve Jobs seem to think so.

It takes only a quick scan through the games section of the App Store to see there are some 7,000 games for the iPhone and iPod Touch including games from Sega, Vivendi, Namco and other well-known makers. According to Jobs, a quarter of the 200 million apps that have been downloaded from the App Store so far have been games. The sheer number and variety of games, especially free games, are helping propel the sales of the ever-popular Apple devices.

Part of the appeal of the App Store is its low distribution costs, making it possible for developers to sell games for just a few dollars, or free, supported by advertising revenue, WSJ reports. Also, game developers can put aside having to manufacture pricey game carts and the worry about getting their games on already-packed retail shelves.

Apple, which has sold more than 13 million iPhones so far, has attacked the mobile game market in recent months by wooing game-industry executives, hosting technical meetings with game developers and touting games in iPod touch commercial, the WSJ reports.

"I think the iPhone and iPod touch may emerge as really viable devices in the mobile games market this holiday season," said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive and co-founder, in an interview.

One drawback, some game publishers note, is the lack of tactile feedback on the iPhone and iPod touch. Without buttons to press, playing some games take more effort than they might otherwise. That's bound to throw some off their games, they say.

What do you think? Voice your opinion in comments.

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  • http://www.ethervision.net Randall Cross

    Gaming on the iPhone is fantastic and I think the touchscreen lends itself to a whole new gaming experience. I just downloaded Fieldrunners for $5. It's a highly addictive game and it poses a nice strategic challenge.

    I just saw some blog post that Vans could be (rumor) launching a skateboarding game where you use your fingers on the screen to move the board and ollie. The creative possibilities are endless.

    There are a lot of bad games out there as well and there are so many now. I think Apple will greatly benefit as they refine the search feature on iTunes so people can always find the perfect game amidst so many choices.

  • Darren3311

    Thanks for the advertisement Randall. Why talk about an app called Fieldrunner on a post titled Crash Bandicoot? hehe

    Well back to the subject at hand, Crash Bandicoot is one of those classics that one can never forget playing in their grandma's basement for hours at a time while parents talked politics upstairs. Timeless game and I'm glad to see it out on a handheld...preserving its fun for future generations =)

  • Chase O.

    @Randall: There's a skateboarding game coming out in the near future like you're talking about called Touch Grind. It's not produced by Vans, though.

    But personally, in response to the article, I've been playing a lot of great games with my iPhone lately. With games like Spin, Quick Draw, and Jelly Car and Tap Tap Revenge, I've really been enjoying gaming on my iPhone.

    The only time I found myself missing some tactile feedback was when I first bought my phone back in July. I used to press a button on-screen with a good amount of pressure expecting it to click, but found myself feeling like I missed an extra stair at night. But after only a week or so I got used to it and found there's exciting advantages to the touchscreen/accelerometer interface. Developers could potentially use any button setup they wanted. And games that use on-screen buttons that I've seen are barely obtrusive. But I think the iPhone needs to be a system where developers are needing to think outside the box, making awesome and innovative games, or taking old ideas and making them better.

    Anyone who's played a racing game on the iPhone knows it feels right, even if the controls on the particular game aren't. But some games couldn't be played without a multitouch screen or an accelerometer, and that's where the iPhone shines. Awesome, innovative games like TTR use most if not all of the controls on the iPhone, along with other advantages like an internet connection to download new songs.

    Also, the App Store is an amazing advantage. The chance for any game to be available immediately to anyone is a really great system. Also, games can really range anywhere from free to $10+.

    Now, that doesn't mean there aren't some disadvantages. For instance, the max price for most games has been set to $10. A lot of devs need to support families and sometimes $10, compared to $20 and $30 for other portable game systems, is too low of a price. But that might change in the future. There's others that I won't go into because of a lack of time...

    But that's my opinion. A lot of great games have been coming out lately, and I can't wait for some like Rolando and Need for Speed that are coming soon. I considered getting a PSP or DS before I had my iPhone, but now I honestly don't see the point. The iPhone is a really great replacement.

    Anyone who's considering a PSP or DS should consider an iPod touch. You get a lot for the money, like other great apps other than games and a very decent web-browser.

    -Chase

  • DexMex77892

    Chase, thanks for the great opinions on games/gaming systems. I agree the PSP and DS are just SOL on their timing in the market. Unfortunately, the truth is the iPhone has destroyed the demand for these alternative systems. Now it's just a matter of time until the word gets out

  • DexMex77892

    By the way, someone tell Darren to get lost and read the title again! hah