Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The iPhone's Gaming Growing Pains

The iPhone 3GS sports a better processor than its predecessor, the 3G, which makes the new handset an even more muscular platform for mobile gaming. However, most iPhone users still have an older 3G or first-gen model, and the cost of developing an advanced game necessitates a large customer base. How long will developers wait to build graphics-heavy, 3GS-exclusive games?
Consider the juice inside a hot new portable gaming device: It has a speedy processor, a powerful graphics chip, plenty of memory and wireless capabilities for instant downloads. You can play the latest blood-soaked first-person shooters like "Resident Evil," dizzying platformers like "Assassin's Creed" and some killer racing games that don't even require punching combinations of buttons and triggers; just lean the device this way or that, thanks to a built-in accelerometer, and you're careening down boulevards at top speeds in a shiny red Ferrari.
If you want, you can also make a phone call on it.
The iPhone 3GS is the best argument yet for those who say smartphones will eventually replace notebook computers as full-service portable communications/entertainment devices, and the ability to play is becoming a big part of its consumer appeal. "Games are certainly one of the most popular applications categories in the App Store," Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe said. "Clearly there is a lot of gaming interest."
However, is there enough of that interest to make gaming the major impetus for iPhone sales ? That interest isn't just among consumers who will use their iPhones to kill time on their flight home by playing "Hero of Sparta;" developers for those games dream of taking advantage of the 3GS' tech specs by loading up new offerings with rich graphics and animation; but can they afford to develop those games for the new, beefed-up iPhone if there aren't yet enough of them in consumer's hands?
"It's hard to predict if a game that costs twice as much to develop is going to sell enough copies to recoup the development investment, which is why install base is often factored into a game's green-light decision," game developer Corey Dangel said. "Lessons leaned on the PC side indicate that unless you're selling a game engine, like 'Doom,' 'Unreal' or 'Half-Life,' you want to keep your minimum specifications very approachable. Developers have learned that living on the bleeding edge, while sexy, is not all that lucrative."

No comments:

Post a Comment