Apple changes the face of gaming

Steve Jobs Thursday Apple Inc. showed what their iPhone SDK (software developer kits) were capable of. And the world as we know it changed.

Apple has always been known for locking down their systems. No viruses, no spyware, nothing gets through with out the Apple seal of approval. It’s the Apple manifesto. There’s a sign that says that in front of 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino

I am a day one iPhoner. When it launched everyone was extremely excited about the possibilities, but also slightly worried that the system would be locked down for no one to play with. Well, World, worry no more.

In a keynote hosted by his Jobness the true power of the iPhone was revealed. In what would have made a horrible reality TV show, five developers were given two weeks to get an application up and running on the iPhone using Apple’s toolset. None of the developers had ever seen any of this code, and one of them said he had never even programmed on a Mac before.

Of the five developers, two of them were game developers: Electronic Arts and Sega. EA, as us cool kids know it, showed off some version of Spore they cooked up in two weeks. It uses the accelerometers inside the phone to allow you to control your little spore (think good SIXAXIS controls… more Warhawk, less Lair) in a 2D top down environment.

Sega showed a version of Monkey Ball that they called "not a cell phone game, a full console game." It used the same tilt controls as Spore though this one is a 3D game, proving that the tilt control scheme has versatility, and is super easy to program.

Now’s the part where I put things in perspective as to why I made such a bold claim in my second sentence. Sony’s PSP has moved 10 million units in the United States since it launched in March of 2005. As of the end of 2007 Apple has sold 5 million iPhones; it’s been out for eight months. We are seeing insane numbers of people picking up the iPhone. People can have their email, phone, contacts, calendars, and very well organized music and videos on the go already will soon be seeing real games there as well.

Where some cell phones have Internet access, Apple touts the iPhone as having the ‘real’ Internet. Well, just like some phones have games on them, the iPhone has real games. If the games take off like I think they will, we may well be witnessing the birth of the third major handheld (Gizmondo aside). Developers like Sega and EA backing a platform is a big deal. Expect Activision and all the other third party companies to follow suit.

If I have the option of purchasing a game on either on my DS or on my iPhone I may have to go with iPhone. It’s one less thing to carry around, I don’t have to worry about keeping cartridges everywhere, and I don’t have to worry about a store being sold out.

Sony has been criticized lately for trying to cram too many things into their devices. The PSP plays music, plays movies, can surf the web, listen to Internet radio, and makes skype calls and happens to play games. The PS3 is in the same boat. It seems Sony is putting gaming second as it tries to cram tons of other things into their machines.

Microsoft is the same way. The Xbox 360 has a focus on gaming, but seems to also look in the media center direction also, what with all the downloadable movies and television shows. And look at all the stuff they put in their PC’s when all it’s really good for is playing Unreal Tournament.

Apple on the other hand has found some sort of Zen. The iPod functionality on the iPhone is flawless, and doesn’t feel tacked on, like many cell phone music players. It’s so good they made the iPod touch just for people to have it without phone part. The phone is logical; it works like a phone should work. It’s extremely easy to store and update contacts. And in June, when the Apps Store opens on the iPhone, gaming will come in as well. If Apple can keep its focus and keep the balance, then more than portable gaming is about to change.



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Author: Creighton DeSimone View all posts by

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