Launching in the middle of 2007, the App Store provides plenty of downloadable applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Among these numerous software are video games. Does the App Store elevate the iPhone and iPod Touch into respectable handheld gaming system or are the video games just a superfluous feature for these multimedia devices? Let’s look at a couple of determine factors.
Why the iPhone and iPod Touch Will Succeed
The iPhone and iPod Touch are the first video games system where games are exclusively distributed digitally. This is important because most of these downloadable games are developed independently. Those types of games would otherwise have a hard time making it to retail shores. Since the costs of digital distribution are much less, independent games thrive under it. The digital distribution method of the iPhone and iPod Touch should make those video game systems popular choices to develop games on.
With the Exception of Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Rumble, you don’t see any handheld games using motion sensing controls. That is because the iPhone and iPod Touch are the first gaming devices to have a built-in accelerometer. Somewhat similar to the Nintendo Wii, Having this exclusive feature could result in some truly innovative games that can only be made for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The iPhone and iPod Touch has already sold millions of units as multimedia devices. Apple is incredibly good at advertising their products. Not to mention it has plenty of loyal fans to dig into. If any other company was behind the iPhone and iPod Touch, those devices would have made very little noise as gaming devices.
Why the iPhone and iPod Touch Will Fail
No Traditional Control Scheme
While having accelerometer and touch screen functionality is good, iPhone and iPod Touch both lack a traditional control scheme for gaming. This is important because pressing buttons have been part of gaming since it was invented. Not to mention that it provides tactile feedback that a touch screen lacks. A majority of games still uses normal button presses today, so Apple is neglecting a large segment of the gaming populace because of it.
Nintendo has a monopoly on the handheld gaming market. Many portable devices have tried to compete against Nintendo DS products only to get decimated in the end. The only other handheld device that even have some sort of a market share against Nintendo is Sony with its PSP.
Unlike the iPod where there was pretty much no competition, Apple has to battle Sony and Nintendo to get a share of the portable gaming market. To further complicate the situation, both Sony and Nintendo have been making and supporting video game systems for decades.
If iPhone and iPod Touch were to succeed as gaming devices, Apple will eventually need to have internal studios constantly churning out games for them. They will also need to rally as many third-party developers as possible. Otherwise, it would be a tough road for the iPhone and iPod Touch to reach the level of the Nintendo DS or even the PSP.