Of course the iPhone is a gaming platform and a computing one, too.
Ok, (sorry one more iPhone post then I’ll stop for a bit) Om wondered if the iPhone was the new gaming platform and Duncan knows it is. Of course it is! It was obvious as soon as they showed Super Monkey Ball and the rest of the games at the keynote. It’s got the big beautiful screen, good horsepower and pocketability to run the games.
It doesn’t have keys, which is kind of a negative, since a lot of games really want to have keys and a directional pad – the lack of this may hamper a lot of traditional games, although Ms. PacMan shows that virtual controllers while not as good as a physical one, could provide a lot of different types of controllers that could prove to be very interesting. As well as, of course, using the accelerometer as most of the games do now. Or peripherals, a snap on joystick like they used to make for the Treo would be sweet.
The connectivity is great, too. I expect to see more connected style gaming and more community based high score type sites. Won’t be long till the existing ones start offering api’s for easy hooking into their systems. And of course downloading level packs and themes over the air is already extending the value of the games.
The Real Killer App
But the real killer app that sets this thing above the PSP and the DS? It’s the App Store. It’s the ability to easily browse the games, read reviews and download them instantly over the air. No cartridges to lug around, no going to the store to pick it up. Hear it, find it, buy it. Right there, right then. The games are cheaper (Super Monkey Ball for the DS is twice as expensive as it is for the iPhone) because they don’t have any distribution costs. Plus there’s a lot more vigorous competition on the site since it’s open to everyone, not just the big boys.
It won’t be long before (ok, it might be long given the glacial pace that Apple is approving apps, but you get the point) the AppStore has more titles than the DS does. With advantages in the AppStore, ubiquitous connectivity over 3G and a rapidly growing user base with crazy mindshare right now, everyone’s going to try and get in the game jump starting this bad boy. I mean, Spore’s heading for this thing and I’m already ready to plunk down my hard earned cash for that. I’ve bought 2 games already (out of the 4 I’ve downloaded) and that’s more than I’ve done in years.
I mean the App Store is seriously great. Not only does it provide you all that goodness, but it manages updates for you. It alerts you when there’s updates for any of your apps and pow, you click update all and a few minutes later you are at the latest and greatest. Sure, on the one hand, they need this because the apps coming out now are a touch crashy, but going forward as the platform matures, that should happen less and less and now the lifespan of these games is expanded since they can get better over time. And of course, I am very, very pro-auto upgrades.
Hell, I want my desktop computer to have it’s own App Store. It’d be great to download and have them all easily managed, upgrades managed in one central location and deleting them dead without a trace of them lingering as easy as deleting an icon. Sure I hate that Apple controls the reins, but if they loosen up that control (or remove it or allow things to point at other repositories – yeah, I know wishful thinking) it would be unbelievably great.
These are just the beginning days of apps on the iPhone and it’s already a raging success. The Apple hype machine is unparalleled but it isn’t undeserved. Things work quite well. If you don’t think the iPhone is going to do more for Apple long term than the iPod did, well, I guess I think you’re powerful wrong.
One of the last holdouts of the PC v. Mac wars is gaming. The iPhone is going to bring the game companies and a world of amateur develoeprs into the OS X fold, it isn’t much of a stretch to believe they’ll notice the increasing market share of the Mac on desktops and put a little more effort in there. Not to mention all the other developers hard at work learning objective-c right now. All those folks buying iPhones and then buying a new mac, well, they’re going to need more programs, too. I’m just saying.