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Tag Archives: portable gaming

Plugging into the Gaming Underground

“At this writing, there are 30,000 games for the iPhone and iPod touch. That’s more than the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii libraries combined. (And even then, you still have over 25,000 games to go.)”

And so starts the first ever list of “Top 25 iPhone Games” from gaming site IGN, posted just a month ago on January 29, 2010. Reset to today: games released on the iPhone are beginning to get much more sophisticated than those mentioned on IGN’s 1st iPhone gamining list, with games now resembling those that can be found on Sony’s PSP and Nintendon’s DS. Here’s the latest in iPhone & gaming news from this week:

Top-Grossing iPhone Game Apps Week of 3/2

Big gaming companies are continuing to support the iPhone in Apple’s venture to become a viable gaming platform. But, just because so says the “almighty powers that be within gaming,” doesn’t necessarily mean the gaming consumer community will oblige. Much to my surprise, though, as I’ve traversed the gaming world these past couple of weeks, I have found quite an array of answers, leaving me not only waiting for Apple’s next move, but the consumers’ next move, as well.

This week, I delved into the community of gaming, armed with a plethora of questions to pose to gamers. I embedded myself on popular gaming websites, specifically in their discussion forums and on the comments section of articles. Specifically, websites included: IGN, G4TV, Capcom-Unity, and NewGrounds. In addition to the gaming websites, I also used Twitter. I gathered some interesting input on what people’s barriers to interest were on the iPhone as a gaming platform.

Is the iPhone the next portable in disguise?

During my time as a gaming girl, I received a spectrum of responses. It seemed that the gaming community was moderately split on the subject. There were those who were staunchly opposed, and these nay-sayers seemed to have a couple of recurring issues with the iPhone. One of these issues, as I expected, was the touch screen. Others were simply not inclined to accept a phone as a gaming handheld, and their attitude could be characterized as them thinking it to be a preposterous proposition: how can a PHONE (and a touch screen phone, at that) be a GAMING SYSTEM? (quote is below if can’t view from link- the tweet was protected.)

“I am sure it can handle, but it’s suppose to be a dam phone not a gaming system” -@drumerguy via Twitter

On the positive side of the community, gamers seemed to express a mixture of excitement and ambivalence, but generally an optimistic “wait and see” approach. Those that believed in the iPhone for gaming purposes seemed to have a more technical knowledge base of the device- they knew of the phone’s potential from a hardware standpoint.

I was surprised by how difficult it was to evoke dialogue within the gaming forums, which left me a little disappointed at times. But, when it came to commenting on articles posted on gaming websites, readers were very quick to comment and express their opinion (with one article I commented on having 2,539 comments!). While there were exceptions, it seemed like gamers were more inclined to criticize  articles written by website journalists than they were to provide their own insights to raw questions on forums.

People’s answers gave me some insight, but also raised questions about the sincerity of their statements. For example, did these gamers genuinely assess the iPhone and determined that it was an unacceptable means by which to play games, or were they biased by their blind loyalty to Nintendo and Sony? Furthermore, I’d like to know if these responses will be different in 6 months because of simply a passage of time or a potential introduction of a button peripheral.

Looking at the online gaming community as a whole also left me with a few questions. Namely, why is it that gamers were more quick to comment on articles than they were to comment on forums (it’s also important to note that on forums, the amount of people who viewed a post was always considerably higher than those who actually responded)? Is it because these articles gave gamers an opportunity to quickly vent about the topic at hand? If this is true, then it’s possible that the responses were biased towards those who felt strongly enough to complain.

From an overall, long-term perspective, a big question that kept recurring to me as I dug deeper and deeper into gaming was whether or not the iPhone would fuel gaming innovation. This comes not just from the standpoint of games being introduced to the device, but also from whether or not Apple will push Sony and Nintendo to come out with better, cheaper systems. For instance, while a representative from Nintendo stated in an interview this past Tuesday that they’re not afraid of Apple, the company will be releasing a cheaper, larger handheld (the DSi XL, possibly to be in competition with the iPad?) on March 28th. Seems like this news contradicts the Nintendo representative’s statement, to me!

“Sony Readying PSP Phone, iPad Killer?” -IGN

Last week, when I first started researching the portable gaming environment, one of the first places I started digging for information was at www.latestpatents.com, a site that lists out the latest patents of leading technology companies. While looking up Sony, I noticed that their list of patents from February 18th seemed to be dealing with a new phone. This, I did not think much of. What I did find particularly interesting, though, was a patent they had for a, “universal game console controller.” I thought that maybe they were making some sort of physical controller that could be used to play games on phones? But, in the end, thought that we wouldn’t be hearing too much information on these patents any time soon.

Today, while searching on IGN, it seems that I might have been mistaken. The gaming site posted an article stating that Sony might possibly be putting out a phone and tablet to rival the Apple iPhone and iPad. Furthermore, there is said to be a special Sony Online Service that is to be launched by the end of March. Could this be their version of the Apple App Store, but instead to be full of traditional games?

Here’s the Wall Street Journal article with more detailed information.

This will definitely be a telling story to watch unravel, and I’m interested to see if the device will match the patents listed on LatestPatents.com!

This Week in Gaming…

Hey everyone! I just wanted to give you an update on breaking news concerning portable gaming/the iPhone before I posted my question and initial assumptions about the culture of the gaming environment. Question to follow soon!

  1. February 17th: Two days after news hit that Street Fighter is to be released on the iPhone, Capcom made gaming news, yet again, by announcing its immediate release of Resident Evil 4 to the platform. The entire game wasn’t released, though. Rather, this game was specifically geared towards “beginners,” being rightfully dubbed “Resident Evil 4: for Beginners” for only $0.99. With this no-commitment, immediate release, maybe Capcom is attempting to warm up non-gamers and gamers alike to the idea of playing traditional games on the iPhone?
  2. February 21st: Apple announced that it increased iPhone 3G’s app download limit from 10MB to 20MB. Previously, iPhone users who wanted to download an app larger than 10MB had to switch over to a WiFi connection. Maybe Apple is gearing up for some bigger file-sized games to be coming to the App Store (Resident Evil: Degeneration has a file size of 13.6MB & Final Fantasy I has a file size of 72.1MB)?
  3. February 22nd (1): OnLive (a yet-to-be-released subscription gaming service that allows you to stream & play games on a personal device from remote computer hardware) announced that their demo of the game Crysis  being played on the iPhone ran, “fast and smooth.” Typically, Crysis requires super high-end computer hardware to run, usually costing $3,000+. OnLive also mentioned running their app on “tablets”…iPad to be their next adventure? Gamers having the option of subscribing to a service where they can stream games on a multitude of platforms could mean a whole new direction for Apple (and gaming platforms in general). Here’s more on how the “cloud gaming” console works.
  4. February 22nd (2): IGN.com released a “first impressions” article about Street Fighter IV for the iPhone, with video shots of the reviewer, Charles Onyett,  playing the game. Overall, he was impressed with it, saying that it’s “pretty, functional, and coming out in March.” He also mentioned that the game was created in a way that both beginners to the game, as well as avid Street Fighter fans, will have an enjoyable experience, noting that there are certain difficulty functions that can be turned on and off.
  5. February 25th: Final Fantasy I & II are released on the iPhone. While these are only PSP (Playstation Portable) games that were ported (rewritten to be compatible with another operating system, while the actual game, for the most part, stays the same) over to the iPhone, since they are such well-known, iconic games (in IGN’s review, they called Final Fantasy “not just a videogame,” but an “institution”), it’s been a legitimate discussion topic on gaming sites and forums. Furthermore, there was talk about Final Fantasy I & II coming to the iPhone previously, but there never seemed to be a set date for when it was to be released. So, did Square Enix (the company that makes Final Fantasy) see that Capcom was releasing Street Fighter and decide that now would be as good of a time as ever to release the game?

It’s interesting to see how things have developed since Capcom’s mention that Street Fighter will be coming to iPhone. I haven’t followed gaming in the past (before this week) to know if there was a significant change in talk about portable gaming, but it seems as if there has, at the very least, been a steady flow of developments concerning iPhone as a portable gaming system.

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